Pádraic Fogarty has resigned from his position as campaigns officer with the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) in the aftermath of the trust removing references in an online article to farming organisations "lurching to the far right".
The controversial blog was posted to the IWT website on Saturday 15 July, but amended the following Friday to remove political references.
Fogarty alleges that the article, which made references linking farm organisations with a move to the far right and conspiracy theories, “only became an issue when the IFA made a complaint” to the IWT.
“Irish farm organisations are increasingly lurching to the far right, happy to spread conspiracy theories, undermine scientists and their findings and convince their members that their way of life is under attack by an urban elite that cares little for them or their values,” the article had originally claimed.
Last week, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) wrote to the IWT requesting that the article be removed immediately, describing the far right reference as “completely unacceptable”.
The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) and the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) also criticised the article.
Fogarty doubled down on his allegations of farm groups "lurching to the far right", saying that “I believe it more today then [sic] I did when I wrote it”.
“I appreciate many people disagreed with the language, including friends and colleagues, and I respect that,” he said on Sunday.
“This included some board members of the IWT and on Friday a decision was made to redact the blog, removing the reference to the far right and a comparison I made between the IFA and the DUP.
“While I was told about the decision, I wasn't involved in it. But I respect it, the board are absolutely entitled to control what's on the website. However, I can't support it.”
The amended article itself has two disclaimers, the first being that: “This blog represents the views of the author and is not an Irish Wildlife Trust position.”
A second disclaimer posted under the piece states that: “This article has been updated on 21 July 2023 to remove political references that could be perceived to be divisive.”