Famous athlete and former UFC Champion Conor McGregor is reportedly the subject of a probe by the Garda Síochána, Ireland’s national police, for online comments he made after an Algerian migrant stabbed five people — three of them children — outside of a school on November 23.
Led by assistant commissioner Justin Kelly, Garda are now investigating McGregor’s tweets as part of a probe into online hate speech according to the Times.
As confirmed by Irish police, the Algerian man arrested for the stabbings was previously subject to a deportation order, which was quashed. He was also arrested earlier this year for possession of a knife.
Riots erupted in Dublin after news of the attack spread online. In response, police commissioner Drew Harris condemned the protestors as “hooligan lunatics” driven by “far-right ideology.” But McGregor quickly took to X (formerly Twitter) to call out Harris’ focus on “far-right” bogeymen rather than the stabbing victims.
“Innocent children ruthlessly stabbed by a mentally deranged non-national in Dublin, Ireland today. Our chief of police had this to say on the riots in the aftermath. Drew, not good enough,” the UFC star wrote.
“There is grave danger among us in Ireland that should never be here in the first place, and there has been zero action done to support the public in any way, shape or form with this frightening fact. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Make change or make way. Ireland for the victory. God bless those attacked today, we pray.”
Following the breakout riots, mainstream media coverage focused on the alleged “far right ideology” driving the protests rather than on the stabbing attack that put three children in hospital, one in critical condition.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar took a similar stance. “These criminals [rioters] did not do what they did because they love Ireland… They did so because they are filled with hate, they love violence, they love chaos, and they love causing pain to others,” Varadkar said to the Associated Press.
Regarding McGregor, the Irish Sunday Times labeled him “a hero of the far-right.”
McGregor has been undeterred by the criticism. On X, he posted: “I don’t care about president higgins statement. Or Varadkars statement. Or Mary Lou’s. Or Justice McEntee’s. Or Garda commissioner’s. Announce our plan of action!! What are we waiting for? Your statements of nothing are absolutely worthless to the solving of this issue. Take Action!! Fix this situation IMMEDIATELY!”
While expressing outrage over the stabbings, McGregor did condemn the riots, though noted that he understood where the rage was swelling from.
“I do not condone last nights riots. I do not condone any attacks on our first responders in their line of duty. I do not condone looting and the damaging of shops. Last nights scenes achieved nothing toward fixing the issues we face. I do understand frustrations however, and I do understand a move must be made to ensure the change we need is ushered in,” he wrote on X.
“There will be change in Ireland, mark my words. The change needed. In the last month, innocent children stabbed leaving school. Ashling Murphy murdered. Two Sligo men decapitated. This is NOT Ireland’s future! If they do not act soon with their plan of action to ensure Ireland’s safety, I will.”
Ireland does not currently have hate speech laws. They do have legislation from 1989 that allows judges to consider a “hate motive” for other criminal offenses.
In recent years, however, the country has drawn international criticism, including from Elon Musk, over proposed hate speech laws that could result in five-year prison sentences. While the legislation has yet to pass, the Dublin stabbings and riots have led Ireland’s Prime Minister to claim that it will be pushed through within weeks.
What’s unclear is whether McGregor, for his fiery tweets, could be threatened with five years of prison under new Irish laws that passed only after he published them.