A FAVOURITE tactic of western militarist think tanks, PR firms and lobbyists is to present as centre ground moderates that oppose extremism of the left and right variety. Usually, these are western militarists in disguise whose overwhelming emphasis is on combatting Muslim ‘enemies of the free world’.
Former minister Lucinda Creighton’s PR firm, Vulcan Consulting, has some interesting US clients and she is senior adviser in Europe to the US-based Counter Extremism Project (CEP). The CEP proclaims its non-partisan outlook but its list of “extremist groups” is composed mainly of Muslim, anti-western groups.
An idea of what Creighton also considers to be extremist was her attack on the “extreme left and the extreme right” for opposing the EU-Canadian trade deal, Ceta, which would include groups such as Friends of the Earth and An Taisce.
Lucinda would not regard Israel and the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) as extremist, despite its mass murder of Gaza civilians and, in an extraordinary attack on UN secretary general Antonio Guterres recently, she denied that the IDF targets civilians. One shudders to think of the carnage that would result from a targeted attack by the IDF.
Vulcan has offices in Dublin and Brussels, where some of its staff may well be moderate in outlook, but Brussels-based account manager Daniel O’Dowd would probably not describe himself as a centre ground politico. O’Dowd belongs to that group of young Tory types that looked to Princess Lucinda and other Blueshirt types in recent years and he has written articles defending his activities as a conservative.
O’Dowd worked as a campaign assistant in the successful 2019 re-election campaign of Tory MP Kevin Foster, who went on to support Liz Truss for UK prime minister last year.
Intriguingly, he has also worked as a parliamentary aide for an entirely different politician, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD, a life-long republican who left Sinn Féin over that party’s pro-choice stance. This issue was what temporarily united the two, although disagreement on many other issues saw the them part company last year when O’Dowd went to work for Vulcan.
O’Dowd certainly shares mutual values with Vulcan CEO Lucinda and he has been an active Israeli supporter for some years, becoming president of Irish Students for Israel in 2018. Then, he dismissed the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign as, yes, anti-Semitic.
However, what Vulcan would have regarded as a trophy acquisition was the recruitment in 2019 of Rory Montgomery, former second secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), where he worked with the then European minister, Creighton.
More recently, it was Monty that Tánaiste Micheál Martin and the DFA selected to chair the session on the EU common security and defence policy at the forum on security and defence. During the forum, Monty tried to close down a contribution from the floor from Tom Crilly of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, an organisation whose gentle pacifists would be regarded with deep suspicion by Lucinda and Vulcan’s ‘non-extremists’ (see The Phoenix 14/7/23).