herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Poles come here to work - ambassador

THE Polish ambassador has rejected the notion that his fellow citizens come to Ireland to draw the dole.

Marcin Nawrot said Poles travel to this country to make a valuable contribution "by living and working here".

He was responding to an article purporting to tell the story of a Polish woman, named 'Magda', living the 'good life' on welfare in Donegal.

Mr Nawrot, who described the piece as "potentially inflammatory", said the quotes from Magda were not translated correctly. "It's impossible to imagine that this decision (to emigrate), sometimes a very painful one, is made on the basis of the level of unemployment benefit or other kinds of support granted to the jobless by the Irish state," he wrote in a letter.

Mr Nawrot added: "Polish people that come to Ireland are young, well educated, dynamic and ambitious people who make a conscious choice to settle down here.

"Their first priority in life is to make an honest living for themselves."



Danger

He said: "The danger of an anti-immigrant atmosphere developing during harsh economic times is well-documented throughout history."

Mr Nawrot was responding to a piece in which Magda was incorrectly quoted as describing her life on the dole in Donegal as a "Hawaiian massage".

Mr Nawrot emphasised that the article was not correctly translated from Polish.

"The subject 'Magda' states in the Polish 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'," the ambassador stated.

He said "at no stage" does Magda describe her life in Donegal as a 'Hawaiian massage'.

"What she actually says is that she has completed a Fas course in Hawaiian massage and that she's planning to open a massage business next year," Mr Nawrot wrote.

"I think you can agree that this misrepresentation completely changes the tone of the article," he said.

comurphy@herald.ie

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