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By David Vance On February 1st, 2012

TAKING the welfare is one thing, TALKING about it quite another. The Irish Independent alleges…

“A Polish waitress living in Ireland has sparked fury after she boasted about living the good life on Irish welfare benefits. ‘Magda’ (36), not her real name, 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. He in turn bragged about the county’s wonderful golf courses. Magda claimed she earned €67 more a week on the dole than she did while working and that her welfare payments are €182 more every week than back in her native Poland. The shocking boasts in a Polish newspaper have ignited another debate on welfare tourism, with one Labour senator last night offering to pay for her flight home.”

Well, it’s NOT as if there is a recession, right? Hang on….

10 Responses to “THE GOOD LIFE…”

  1. The Irish Independent alleges

  2. The article is such a pile of crap that the Polish ambassador to Ireland felt the need to respond.


    Dear Editor,

    I refer to the article “Welcome to ’good life’ on welfare – how Polish waitress embraced La Dole-ce Vita” published in the Irish Independent of Feb 1.

    Firstly, let me focus on the article itself and on its level of inaccuracy relative to the original article (published in the magazine Wysokie Obcasy to the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza of Jan 29).

    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. 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”. I believe that this is the sentence that best summarizes the context of the original article and it is decidedly unfortunate that it has been omitted in your article.

    In terms of her describing her life as ‘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. I think you can agree that this misrepresentation completely changes the tone of the article.

    She also never describes the place where she lives as s***hole (in fact she loves it and is very passionate about it), she merely refers to other people saying that.

    There are many other inaccuracies of that type throughout the Irish Independent article which could have been easily avoided if only the Polish article had been translated correctly or its content presented in a more objective manner.

    I fully understand how potentially damaging this article might be to the good reputation that the Polish community has amongst Irish society and I ask your readers not to judge us on the basis of this solitary article. You have managed to get to know us well in recent years and you know our work ethic and our system of values which, I’m sorry to say, is inaccurately presented in this article published in the Irish Independent.

    The decision to remain in Ireland that so many Polish people made in the recent years is a decision to make a valuable contribution to the Irish state by living and working here, integrating with the Irish society and being a part of it all 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.

    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. I cannot say that people like Magda don’t exist – they do in every society and community around the world, including the Polish community in Ireland. On the basis of my personal experience with so many Poles living here, I can assure you that people like Magda constitute a very small minority of Poles in Ireland, and are in no way representative of the entire Irish – based Polish community.

    The danger of an anti-immigrant atmosphere developing during harsh economic times is well-documented throughout history. I would hope that a major newspaper such as the Irish Independent would be conscious of this and take great care when fact-checking such a potentially inflammatory article.

    Yours sincerely,

    Marcin Nawrot

  3. Someone on the reddit website has taken the time to compare the original article with the Indo piece.


    From the Indo:

    ‘Magda’ (36), not her real name, described her life on the dole in Donegal as a ‘Hawaiian massage’.

    Original Article (badly translated)

    Magda is doing a basic massage, Hawaiian and hot stone, which she learned at the free course of office work: hot stones moves on the back, until they go down all the tension.


    Magda doesn’t identify the town in Co Donegal where she lives but she does call it a “s***hole”.


    Donegal, a county on the northern tip of Ireland, but for some the most beautiful place in the world, for others – the biggest shithole. Wherever you look carefully, green hills and beaches to the horizon, like a postcard.


    Sometimes I sleep till noon and the nearest beach is five minutes away


    Day start is always the same: go to the beach to see the sunrise. It charges me for the rest of the day. Once, I slept until noon, now pity that life.


    Apart from her clear intent to take advantage of our social welfare system, to describe her home as a s***hole just adds insult to injury


    Do I have a problem with the fact that I am on benefit? Wonders. Yes. I do not want to live at the expense of the state, so I treat it as a support that will allow me to set up their own business. In the afternoon we go for coffee for 3 euros. The same can drink at home, but the point is – explains Magda – to support local businesses.


    He in turn bragged about the county’s wonderful golf courses.

  4. “A Tangled Web
    — a dissenting review of contemporary British & American politics.”

    Unless of course I find something the confirms my prejudices, in which case I will regurgitate it without any dissent at all.

  5. The Polish Immigrants to Ireland have been extremely hard working.

  6. Dear FewsOrange,

    Although I can’t comment on this particular item, I know for a fact welfare tourism is alive and well in Ireland. I see the results every day. Especially, with the Eastern Europeans and African asylum seekers. Their first port of call is the Social welfare “clinic” where accommodation is arranged; “chits” are supplied for clothing and food as well.

    Just think if you’re coming from living all your life in a dirt floor shack infested with bugs and disease with no running water the Irish welfare hand-outs are like manna from heaven.

    Plus it’s a symbiontic relationship. The Liberal, bleeding-heart, do-gooder, save the entire 6.5-billion people in the world and make them economically even crowd practically orgasm when they see their efforts rewarded.

    There’s a sucker born every minute and one to take advantage of him every other. (PS: P.T. Barnum DID NOT say that)

  7. FewsOrange – excellent work

  8. FewsOrange.

    Nicely done.

  9. George Orwell once said that just because something is in the Daily Telegraph doesn’t mean it’s not true. In the case of the Irish Independent you have to start from the assumption that it’s not true.

    This was a vile piece of journalism as FewOrange has demonstrated. A crude attempt to divert attention in the week that the government agreed to had over our fiscal sovereignty to the EU.

  10. The stuff about the translation has been around a while but what gave the story some legs was that it was Gregg Harkin who wrote it…? I see the page has been removed. That is a serious breach from a respected journalist no matter what paper he wrote for.

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