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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
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Debunked: Conspiracy site Infowars used fake claims about Ireland as evidence of 'white genocide'

A comment given by a CSO worker to a committee has been taken as evidence of a non-existent government plan.

INFOWARS, AN AMERICAN conspiracy theory website, has falsely claimed that Ireland plans to take in four million people from Africa and says that it is evidence that white people are being wiped out. 

These claims are untrue and appear to be based on a misreading of a headline.

In a clip from an InfoWars broadcast, host Harrison Smith says: “When it comes to Ireland, as we’ve pointed out many times, it is a population of five million Irish people on the island of Ireland, and they have announced their intentions to bring in four million Africans to that country.

“I mean, if that’s not genocide of the race of the Irish – if this is not white genocide, I don’t know what is.”

He laments that his claims are not discussed in mainstream media, and when they are talked about, they are often dismissed as a “white supremacist conspiracy theory”.

A version of this clip shared by an Irish group on Facebook has been viewed more than 9,800 times.

InfoWars, which regularly gives a platform to white supremacists and racist misinformation, was founded by Alex Jones.

Jones filed for bankruptcy last year after multiple juries found that he had defamed families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, which he had claimed was a hoax and a “false flag operation” where no one had actually died. In reality, 26 people were shot dead during the massacre, 20 of whom were children aged six and seven. 

The evidence

There is a simple explanation for why such claims are not talked about in the mainstream media or are dismissed when mentioned: they aren’t true.

Firstly, it is not the case that 5 million people live on the island of Ireland, as Smith claimed. Just over 5 million (5.03m) live in the Republic, but another 1.9 million people live in Northern Ireland.

But, more importantly, there is no basis for the claim that Ireland has “announced their intentions to bring in four million Africans”. Screenshots at the end of the video show the supposed sources of this false claim.

The first is a screenshot of an article published in the Irish Independent, the headline of which reads: “Ireland needs four million migrants to sustain [the] State pension system”.

The article does not talk about a plan to bring in migrants; instead, it recounts statements made by a CSO statistician speaking to the Pensions Commission.

The statistician said that Ireland’s population is ageing and its fertility rates are dropping, so much so that four million migrants would technically be needed to maintain Ireland’s current ratio of five people of working age for every person over 65 by 2051. 

However, neither the statistician nor the other people present at the meeting suggested that this was a viable solution or proposed it as a plan.  

“An additional four million migrants by 2051 would create significant challenges,” minutes of the meeting say. “It is unlikely that net inward migration will reverse these trends given the scale required and even then some proportion of migrants would become pensioners.”

The CSO statistician also talked about incentives to increase the fertility rate and increased general health that would allow people to retire later; however, no recommendations are recorded in the minutes for this presentation.

There is also no evidence that the statistician specified that the hypothetical migrants would be from Africa.

The final Report of the Commission on Pensions did make several recommendations on making the pensions system sustainable, but none of them mention migration.

While the full report does mention the statistician’s comments, it concludes that “it does not appear feasible or reasonable to conclude that either fertility or migration can resolve the projected ageing of the population”.

In short, at a commission on pensions, a statistician provided an estimate of how much migration would be needed to ease the burden of paying for Ireland’s ageing population, while emphasising that it was not a solution. 

The report of the commission agreed it was not a solution and did not recommend it to the government.

This is a far cry from the claim that Ireland had announced an intention of bringing in “four million Africans”.

A second potential source for the Infowars is given at the end of the Facebook video: a clip of Green Party leader Eamon Ryan speaking in the Dáil.

Speaking of applying sustainable development goals, Ryan said: “It would not only show a responsibility from the north to the south but it would also create a society here where we can bring in people.”

“We must start planning for being an island of ten million people, including bringing people in as refugees in scale; not just 200 people, but a much larger number, and managing it.”

Ryan was speaking in 2016, when the Green Party was not in government and did not have the power to set policy. 

While he talks about a “much larger number” of refugees than 200, there is no indication he is talking about a figure near four million. He is also referring to the population on the island, which was 6.6 million at the time and has grown to 7 million now, and how it will grow over time. 

The figure of 200 was a reference to a motion (that was later adopted) that Ireland should accept 200 unaccompanied minors from the Calais migrant camp in France.

It is worth noting that even under the “high migration” scenarios given by the CSO, which assume a net migration of 30,000 people a year from 2017 onwards – a figure that includes all immigration, not just refugees, and not just from Africa –it would take more than 130 years to reach a figure of 4 million migrants. 


FALSE. A claim spread by American conspiracy theory site Infowars that Ireland has announced “intentions to bring in four million Africans to that country” is baseless. 

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