Dole stories are ‘Poles’ apart says Ambassador

Michael McHugh

Reporter:

Michael McHugh

A Polish woman living in Donegal on the dole, has sparked an international furore after her lifestyle was portrayed in that country’s most popular daily newspaper. The original article was published in Poland’s ‘Gazeta Wyborza’ last week. But the subsequent ‘translation’ and ‘interpretation’ in yesterday’s Irish Independent, has now caused the Polish Ambassador to get involved.

A Polish woman living in Donegal on the dole, has sparked an international furore after her lifestyle was portrayed in that country’s most popular daily newspaper. The original article was published in Poland’s ‘Gazeta Wyborza’ last week. But the subsequent ‘translation’ and ‘interpretation’ in yesterday’s Irish Independent, has now caused the Polish Ambassador to get involved.

In the latest twist to the saga Ambassador Marcin Nawrot hit out strongly at the translation. He said the ‘Irish’ article carried was inaccurate and “could have been easily avoided if only the Polish article had been translated correctly or its content presented in a more objective manner”.

“I wish to stress that the authors of the Irish article use the facts presented in the Polish article in a very selective and subjective manner,” he said. The story has raised a torrid storm, with the ‘Democrat’ and local radio inundated with furious callers throughout yesterday demanding justice, calling for the person to be sent back to Poland. The ‘Indo’ article said that the 36-year-old had “described her life on the dole in Donegal as a ‘Hawaiian massage’.” “She revealed how she had packed in her job so she could spend her days walking along beaches with her partner,” the article read. Calling her Magda (not her real name), the location in Donegal is not revealed.

“The shocking boasts in a Polish newspaper have ignited another debate on welfare tourism,” the article opined.

But Ambassador Nawrot hit back: “In terms of her describing her life as a ‘Hawaiian Massage’, at no stage in this article does she make such a statement. What she actually says is that she has completed a FÁS course in Hawaiian Massage and that she’s planning to open a massage business next year . . . this misrepresentation completely changes the tone of the article. “The decision to remain in Ireland that so many Polish people made in recent years is to make a valuable contribution by living and working here, integrating with Irish society and being a part of it, in good times and bad. It’s impossible to imagine that this decision, 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 said.

RTE researcher Zbyszek Zalinski, told the Democrat: “If you read the original article you get a much more nuanced version of her life in Donegal. She lives very frugally, likes Donegal and has undertaken educational courses to help her start her own business.”

Read more in today’s Donegal Democrat.