Some commentators like Morgan Kelly and Dave McWilliams have flagged the potential emergence of a far-right party as a possible result of the current economic catastrophe. They base this assumption on what has happened in other European countries following the crash especially the elections to the EU parliament last year.
I would be inclined to think such a force would not emerge here. There aren't the material conditions for such a party to develop. FF/FG/PD/GP politicians, Irish bankers, Irish property developers and rich white speculators in the bond markets and financial institutions, caused this crisis. Working people know that. They aren't silly enough to fall for some jumped up deadwit skinhead blaming immigrants for the crisis because they know that Sanjeev who works in the local Centra for €8.65 isn't responsible for the arrival of the IMF, mass unemployment and emigration, and horrendous budget cuts and austerity measures. It's more likely that there'll be an opening on the left for groups like the SP, SF are on a roll at the moment, while Labour will clean up support. Historically too the Irish have been more inclined to left wing parties in times of crisis such as the WP in the 80's.
The far-right that do exist are pathetic losers: look at the Irish National Party that set up and went under 6-7 months back, their fuhrer was an out and out anti-semite and when he was interviewed by Marc Coleman the dirt that had been dug on him (he stated on facebook that he had a point Hitler to hate jews after he saw his jewish neighbour watering flowers during a period of drought) sunk any prospect that they would take off. It's also hard to see what forces they would emerge from - the BNP developed out of the NF which in turn had links going back to the Mosleyite hard right which had existed in Britain and continued to exist post-war in different forms. The most likely group that could act as the progenitor for a fascist organisation is the Youth Defence/COIR group. They have shown a tendency to use violence against opponents in the past, attacking pro-choice picketers on at least one occasion, and the Irish far-right has always had links to the Church (Blueshirts, the Hierarchy's support for Franco in the Spanish Civil War). That is their major achilles heel though, the Church has been utterly discredited and by extension micro-groups like YD/Coir. I just can't see the forces from which such a group will emerge here at present- possibly a middle class law and order movement in the event of mass social up heaval but that's some way off yet. Moreover, racism isn't very prevalent and incidents like the killing of Toyosi Shíttabbey in April shocked and appalled the communities where this took place.
An examination of the factors behind the rise of the far-right in other parts of Europe is a necessary corollary to this question. Some people have pointed at the development of far-right parties in other Western European countries as a possible blueprint for what might happen here. Parallels with for example, the BNP in Britain or the FN in France, are mistaken though. There were concrete reasons for the development of the electoral and social footholds those parties enjoy. The FN has its base among the former Pieds-noirs (the former colonists in Algeria who returned in the 50s/60s) and the communities of Northern France which are shattered by mass unemployment and poverty since the betrayal of the Mitterrand government in the 80's which shut down the State owned coal mines and steel industries and the failure to nationalise the local linen industries which also went to the wall at the same time. The fact that this was implemented by a PS/PCF (socialist&communist) coalition added insult to injury as the workers there felt betrayed by their traditional political parties- following this betrayal you saw Le Pen and his cronies start to come to prominence in the North and that's where his daughter and probable successor Marine has her base.
In the UK, the BNP is strong in some areas such as Yorkshire or Lancashire which have experienced high levels of unemployment, deindustrialisation and ghettoisation since the 70's and where the traditional coal-mining communities have felt betrayed and abandoned after Kinnock and the LP tops refused to back the Miners Strike in 1984- some of them moved from supporting their traditional party to support for the BNP because of this. Another problem which helps these parasites gain power is their concentration on racially mixed areas for support, attempting to whip up tensions and xenophobia by playing on the very real social problems in those areas caused by poverty and running down of public services.
The examples of France and the UK show that these things are the result of concrete processes and factors- the factors that led to this phenomenon there don't exist here as of now because the population remains relatively homogeneous and the class-based nature of this crisis means it's more likely that a left-wing group practicing class politics and with an orientation towards ordinary private and public sector workers will gain support than that a far-right group would emerge. It doesn't mean such a group might not emerge in the future but as of now the odds are stacked heavily against it.