Sunday, 5 February 2012

Jimmy Harte, "Magda" on the dole in Danagall, and the Irish Independent.

Last Wednesday the Irish Independent carried a story about a Polish woman supposedly abusing Ireland’s social welfare system. She also, according to the Independent, called Donegal – or Danagall – a “shithole”.

Few - apart from Danagallians perhaps - could argue with the latter, but she said no such thing. It seems, in fact, she was very complimentary about the place and its inhabitants in an article which appeared in Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, dealing with the experiences of Poles looking for work in Ireland.

“Magda” had actually said that she did not like being on the dole and wants to work (having previously been employed in restaurants, hostels, and hotels for four-and-a-half years before losing her job). She spoke of her plans to become self-employed having done a FAS course on Hawaiian Massage before pointing out she was getting €67 a week more on the dole than she had been getting in her last waitressing job.

The Irish Independent – hoping, presumably,  to tap the anti-foreigner sentiment that exists in Ireland – either wilfully, or mistakenly, mistranslated “Magda’s” words as saying that being on the dole in Ireland was "like a Hawaiian Massage".  I don't think even Google Translate would get it that wrong. 

It gave the impression that Magda - and by implication other “foreigners” in Ireland, focusing as it did on her nationality – was in this country to rob us and our social welfare system blind, while laughing at us as a bunch of hicks. Well, Danagallians anyway.

Then, some half-wit senator called Jimmy Harte (above)  – apparently of the Labour Party - couldn’t get to the nearest radio station microphone fast enough in order to condemn her, and tell her to “go back to Poland”. Ever hear of “workers of the world unite”, Jimmy?

 I heard the interview myself, in which a seemingly frothing-at-the-mouth Harte hinted at physical retribution to Magda from some of his constituents if she didn’t leave the environs.  Even someone such as Harte should realise that phrases like “go back to Poland” are inflammatory in any context.  And how would Outraged of Danagall have identified her among the county's Poles, exactly?  Or would any Polish person they suspected have sufficed?

How many Irish people with a pre-existing jaundiced attitude to “foreigners” would have eagerly concurred with Harte’s statement, while at the same time thinking “they’re all at it” ?

 Never mind the fact that many Irish people have really – unlike “Magda” – been taking the piss out of us and our social welfare system for decades, and maybe generations – even when we had near full employment.  By contrast  “Magda”, and others like her, grafted in the jobs that the Irish did not want to do.  Jobs that career unemployed Paddy and Mary would not get out of their daytime pajamas for.

Sure, people can get all indignant about social welfare abuse if they want – and all the other abuses such as tax avoidance/evasion that go on here - but they should not focus on non-Irish nationals. Or are they saying that it is OK for Irish people to abuse the system, but not “foreigners”?

More importantly the Irish Independent, and other rags, should realise they have a responsibility to report stories accurately, and not publish cooked-up drivel that can act as an incitement to hatred against people who choose to live in this country and – like the real “Magda” -  make a valuable contribution to it.

The same cannot not be said of Jimmy Harte, many of his fellow politicians, and the odd Irish Indo hack.

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John said...

Good man Jimmy, just shows how right wing Labour has become. I guess they know that the will go the way of the Greens. I see you
have a B.A. in Psychology from University College Dublin, 1980, so you knew full well what you were up to. I see you are a Senator? well the emperor Caligula made his horse a Senator, guess the shite he came out with was at least useful.

The Gombeen Man said...

True, John. And what happened with Kenny's promise to send these oafs to the knacker's yard?

Anonymous said...

The indy has been at this for a while GM. Same basic story back in March: Clueless flash paddy with a small business expects grown men with families to take a job suitable for 20 somethings living at home, and is indignant when they won't. He wants mature, responsible workers for the price of kids, the greedy rodent. In both articles, I find it hard to decide if the indy's point is that foreigners are hideous or the dole is too generous. Probably both, as the poor have *always* been Ireland's scapegoats.

Of course, you could argue that our retrograde, American Deep South tax structure limits employment opportunities for unskilled and semi-skilled workers by pricing them out of the market, but that would be rational, modern, and entirely un-Irish.


anna said...

2 yrs ago I had Polish and Hungarian flat mates,pleasant, all working , did not drink much. The pole lost his job- he was in a V technical specialized industry, and actually got work at home. His Hungarian trainee accountant girlfriend, Then lost her Irish job- and found one in Poland, despite knowing no polish, She is now learning it, while carrying on training to be an accountant in POland. They left a friend in Ireland, who is training to be an accountant while working with a multi national- and doing his exams in English. Hard working, getting on with life, VERY adaptable, that;'s how I found them all. Oh and most Poles who come here are far more likely to have 3rd level qualifications than equivalent Irish age cohort.
BTW I am all on for stopping welfare fraud- by people from aLL nationalities AND it is often done by those in full time work and TOO often they are Irish,. Other EU nations stopped making welfare fraud easy years ago- about time we did- we cannot afford the MASSIVE haemorrhage in this nations' finances.
To those who are indignant about welfare fraud ( an clearly Magda is not a fraudster) WHY are you indignant that people do it??? WHY NOT get very angry that our Idiot government is FACILITATING IT by allowing loopholes and Not cracking down hard on fraudsters Anna

Dakota said...

Just where is the Irish left? There're all - well a quasi, semi wishy washy left - campaigning against irresponsible and idiotic taxation, that's where. You didn't think I meant the Labour Party, did you GM? There isn't one, in Ireland. Long time looking for what's not there......Two words, one name, Tom Johnson. When he capitulated to misguided republicanism, all hope was lost for a cohesive and credible left in Ireland. Ireland is right wing. Pyjama Republic.

"Or are they saying that it is OK for Irish people to abuse the system, but not “foreigners”?" Looks like it. Pettiness and hypocrisy are national sports,GM.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Thomas. Thanks for that link. Yes, too true about Flash Paddy and his peanut wages. Sometimes I see the wages being offered and wonder how people can survive at all. Especially those who paid Beverly Hills money for shoebox apartments at the height of the bubble.

@ Anna. Yep, that's the thing... any criticism has to be across the board, rather than picking on "forreners". And anyone that came to this country to work at least had the get-up-and-go (awful term) to do that. Tax evasion is the big thing here too, Anna. I think that costs even more than social welfare fraud, but where is is the indignation from the public there?

@ Dakota. You'll need to fill me in on this Johnson guy, D. "Pyjama Republic"... love it!

Anonymous said...

whats this GM didnt we have a vote to get rid of these degenerate parasitic slugs in the senate ,where is CALELLY the phony phone bills kid, friend of that great man bertie the suicide advocate , has kenny developed a bertie stutter yet,he seems to have picked up most of his other characteristics -BH

Dakota said...

GM, Thomas Johnson was an Irish Labour Party Leader, in the significant years prior to the plebisite. Along with Larkin, Connolly and other notables, he was influencial in the early formation of the Labour movement in Ireland, before, and in the decade following 1918.

GM, Thomas Johnson is significant, as the Labour movement were asked to move aside in the 1918 election, by the Republicans, to make way for a decisive Republican front. A request to which the well meaning Thomas Johnson acquiesced. Unfortunately, any chance of a balanced political culture was lost in Ireland thereafter.

One example of a vast swath of "Irish" history just lost and discounted.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the follow ups with Magda seem to point that she's taking this issue to the press ombudsman. Considering previous decisions against the Irish Independent regarding them pulling this type of stunt before, I don't rate their chances.

Isn't it nice to have a press regulator that actually looks out for people instead of being ineffective codswallop that allows papers to print whatever racist dogwhistle garbage they like?

Katie Cahill said...

Yes, of course, the Polish enjoy a much higher level of culture and education than the Bog Irish. Chopin immediately springs to mind when I think reverently of Poland. Oh and Krakow, stately city that bore a Pope no less , how my mind soars, how my very spirit thrills to cast off dirty Dublin for that veritable Paradise on Earth.

What would Ireland do without Polish genius, where would Ireland be, oh gorgeous Magda I leap to thy defence, let me cast my Donegal Tweed beneath thy pretty little feet, thou wert Cinderella, only the silver slipper fitteth thee , and no wretched Caitlin of the big feet and awkward gait.

Oh how I swoon at the very thought of conversational ecstacy with my darling Warsaw set, Bloomsbury never attained such height of intellectual pleasure, how almost ejaculatory the thought , oh Poland, my awesome Poland thou hast rescued me so, thou hast delivered me from all the ennui of the Irish, that crude Jackeen accent – your lovely Silesian accent , Magda, speak that I quiver, and those eyes, those steel pale Polish eyes that shine ecstatic with delight as we collect in Letterkenny Post Office every Wednesday and you nobly despatch all you can home to Krakow, lovely Krakow, we stroll along the beach, oh Magda , and there are millions more like you , the New Irish, yes, a poet dreamt that , it had to be, a Filidh of Dun na nGall