Socialist Party TDs have referred to the Irish Independent’s front page article yesterday, 1st of February as ‘tantamount to incitement to hatred.’
‘The impression created by the paper’s front page article yesterday was that unemployment was being chosen and relished. The original article, appearing in Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reveals a situation exactly the opposite to this. The level of inaccuracy cannot be put down to a careless mistranslation but rather it amounts to an attack on foreign national workers, which, as the Polish Ambassador alluded to yesterday, is an ugly feature of history in times of economic recession,’ Clare Daly, Socialist Party TD for Dublin North stated today.
The Indepedent’s original article on the subject claimed that the Polish woman living in Donegal, pseudonymously called ‘Magda’ had stated that living on Social Welfare was ‘like a Hawaiian massage.’ In fact, she had referred to having studied a FAS course in massage and was hoping to earn a living from this skill in the future. She also specifically stated in the original article ‘“I have a big problem with being unemployed, I don’t want to live at the State’s expense and for that reason I use this assistance to allow me start up my own business”.
Joe Higgins TD said, ‘In the context of continuous attacks on Social Welfare both here and in the UK, where the current Social Welfare Bill aims to slash billions from the welfare state, it is unacceptable that the Independent would publish such an inaccurate and yes, racist article, which would create a backlash against foreign national workers.’
Clare Daly continued, ‘The Independent should print a front page apology, dealing with the issue in equivalent length to the original article which they published with abandon. The confusion and controversy which the article generated has created a lasting false impression in relation to the experience of people on Social Welfare and should be addressed comprehensively. It is an abuse of the newspapers position that they have done this.