Exploring the Form and Function of Dissident Irish Republican Online Discourses

This article seeks to contribute to broadening the focus of research in the area of violent online political extremism by examining the use of the internet by dissident Irish Republicans and their supporters. The argument here is not that the internet substitutes face-to-face contacts amongst Irish Republicans, including violent dissidents, nor that it currently plays a central role in processes of radicalisation into violent dissident groups, but that it has an important support function in terms of providing an ‘always-on’ space for discussion, consumption, and production of Irish Republicanism and thus a potentially useful educative role in terms of introducing ‘newbies’ to violent dissident Republicanism while also acting as a ‘maintenance’ space for the already committed. This exploratory study considers the importance of these functions in the context of repeated suggestions that the dissidents have no significant support-base or constituency as internet activity certainly gives the appearance of some such support.

Tags: Diaspora Support, Extreme Left, Forums, Irish Republicans