RESPONDING to the scandalous news that Irish people in Australia are being denied jobs because they are not Australian, local opinion haver Cormac McAllenan shares his thoughts on the matter as part of the WWN Voices series.
I read the news that Irish people in Australia are being turned down for jobs on the basis of not being Australian, and if I can be candid, I wept.
I wept great patriotic tears of rage as it reminded me of the story of my great great grandmother’s niece who, at the impossibly young age of 2, swam to New York by herself, only to be denied the right to buy a packet of Tayto in her local 7-Eleven in Brooklyn. This was 1899, a different time, sure, but still – never forget.
It reminded me to a lesser extent, of how the Paki around the corner from me lost his job at the local shop for no other reason than a good looking Irish girl handed in her CV.
While there are similarities, the fact is he isn’t Irish, so I care infinitely less about his plight and that’s his fault for being so foreign.
Out in Oz, there was a lad called Sean, I imagined, who was spat on and had potatoes thrown at him, I imagined, by an employer with a thick Australian accent and all the suitable stereotypes I could conjure up in order to set up him as the villain. The stupid kangaroo shagging half wit.
That wasn’t local Mr. Local shop owner man, he wasn’t evil, his decision was rooted in putting Irish workers first here at home and who could blame him. Sure, those foreigners, with that foreign smell they have, you just can’t trust them.
Discrimination is that strange beast that stares you in the eyes and declares ‘I am not here, you do not see me, I never existed’. But we Irish know better, we’ve excellent eyesight. We know when Australia is wronging us, and I won’t stand for the degradation of a person or peoples unless it’s someone with a funny accent that isn’t Irish.
I’ve lost count of the number of petitions I’ve signed since I heard the horrendous news, if I had to guess I would say it was 1 million. That is how important it is to me, and to be honest, it should be important to you.
Do you like the idea of someone with your accent and memories of watching Glenroe being discriminated against. We’re better than being relegated to the sort of second class citizens I see here at home that I have absolutely no time for.
Can you imagine how horrible the Irish over there in Australia feel, to be so easily dismissed and discriminated against? I’d ask the Polish lad next door how it makes him feel, but he’d only assault and rob me once we got chatting.