The Politics of Delusion – Malachy Steenson and Lowlife Lowbridge.

Bernardo O’Reilly
5 min readMay 11, 2023

George Gilmore

When prominent far right activist and anti-immigrant campaigner Malachy Steenson appeared on the Offgrid Ireland Podcast Live Twitter Space on Monday, it came as no surprise that the agenda was to stoke up hatred against asylum seekers, Travellers and members of the LGBTQ community. However some of the wild claims made on the stream and the hypocrisy of both Steenson and host Gavin Lowbridge was quite shocking.

Offgrid Ireland is the grift of a right wing extremist from County Offaly, Gavin Lowbridge. In the past year Lowbridge has given a platform to many prominent fascists and racists, including British fascists Mark Collett, Joe Marsh and Stephen Thompson, as well as Irish far right figures Hermann Kelly, John McGhee, Mike Connell, Philip Dwyer. and Derek Blighe. Lowbridge has also broadcast live streams with Canadian anti-Semite Chris Sky and American white nationalist Greg Johnson.

Recently Lowbridge has developed a close relationship with loyalist and far right extremist Jolene Bunting. Not only has she appeared on an Offgrid Ireland livestream in February, Lowbridge also travelled to Belfast in early April to meet with Bunting and others. Bunting, once an independent Loyalist councillor, has in the past organised anti-Muslim demonstrations in Belfast and was closely associated with Britain First leader Paul Golding in 2017 and 2018.

It was shocking then to hear the hypocrisy and brass neck of Malachy Steenson on Monday night when he claimed “I’m proud to be a nationalist” and that he was incredulous as his love of Irish culture, “Somehow that makes me a right wing fascist”. Steenson loves to drone on about Irish history, so no doubt he knows all about the UDA and UVF murder gangs and drug pushers that gunned down hundreds of innocent Catholics and have terrorised their own communities for decades. Yet Malachy Steenson has no problem sitting down to chat for over three hours with a lowlife like Lowbridge who platforms and networks with prominent loyalists and fascists.

Some of the wildest claims made by Steenson on the night were in relation to cocaine. At one point in a rambling monologue Steenson claimed, “”And again cocaine is at the crux of all of this, and one of the things that has to be asked before any cabinet meeting in this country, they should have to stand outside that door and take a drugs test and I’ve no doubt about that. And people are speculating again about politicians and about whether there’s a problem with their noses and that. I’m very aware of libel laws in this country and of defamation legislation in this country but people commented on various different things that they’ve seen and are they connected to other things”.

While many Irish people have contempt for what passes for politics in Leinster House, they also have no time for the hypocrisy of Steenson and Lowbridge. Lowbridge was convicted in February 2022 at Tullamore district court, “possession cannabis, and cocaine on dates between January 5, 2020 and September 2020 at locations at Patrick Street, Tullamore, Tullamore Garda Station, Daingean and Arden View”. Lowbridge was also convicted at that court sitting of “being in possession of cocaine for the purposes of selling it to another” but only received a six month suspended sentence. At the court case, addresses for Lowbridge were given as Erry Mill Clara and his mother Deirdre Arnold’s house on Clyduff Road, Kilclonfert, Daingean. During a separate earlier case, it was reported that Lowbridge was found in possession at the Erry Mill address of bags containing cocaine, mixing agent and cannabis along with a weighing scales and. a sum of cash €4.200.

On the livestream Steenson also claimed, “I lived in that constituency. I know what Jonathan Dowdall was. I knew who he associated with. I knew he was a scumbag drug dealer from when he was eighteen. I outed him in 2014, when he was still a member, immediately after the local elections “.

Steenson obviously thinks he can fool everyone because as he rattles on about cocaine in the Dáil and the escapades of Jonathan Dowdall, he does not seem to care that he is doing so on the livestream of a man who is a convicted drug dealer as well as being closely linked to fascists and loyalists.

If you think Malachy Steenson couldn’t sink any lower, you would be wrong. On the same livestream Steenson claimed “A lot of people know me. I’m around a long time. I’m certainly an Irish Republican. I used to describe myself as a Republican socialist, but I think that those terminologies have all changed now…. many of those that used to be republicans are now just woke liberals.” The facts are that many of the people Steenson is castigating have stuck by their principles over the years while he has instead decided to associate with drug dealers and fascists as well as to stir up hatred against asylum seekers, Travellers and members of the LGBTQ community. The depths of Steenson’s departure from republicanism and possibly sanity was obvious when he claimed on Monday in relation to the Falls Curfew in 1970, “When Brendan Hughes arrived with a number of volunteers wanting to just shoot Protestants” but Official IRA leader, Jim. O’Sullivan “just sent him down the road at the point of a gun”.

The Falls Curfew began as a search operation for weapons in the staunchly Republican Lower Falls area of Belfast by the British Army. The operation degenerated into a pitched battle as firstly local youths attacked the British soldiers with stones and petrol bombs, and then the IRA took them on in gun battles. The Lower Falls was indeed a stronghold of the Official IRA but Brendan Hughes was part of an eleven strong unit of the Provisional IRA under Charlie Hughes, which fought a gun battle with troops in Cyprus Street before withdrawing due to lack of ammunition. An earlier offer of help made by head of the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional IRA, Billy McKee to the Official IRA units had been turned down by Jim O’Sullivan. Brendan Hughes went on to be a leading IRA figure in Belfast in the decades that followed and while imprisoned in Long Kesh took part in the blanket protest and the 1980 hunger strike. Malachy Steenson is prepared to go on the livestream of a convicted cocaine dealer and ally of fascists and loyalists to insult the memory of IRA Volunteer Brendan Hughes. What else would you expect from a man that lives in rural County Louth but has spent months travelling to the north inner city trying to stir up hatred against asylum seekers.