'No Irish' bricklayer job ad posted by Irishman

 

IT SOUNDS like a bad joke, but both an Irishman and an Englishman have said they posted a job ad on the Gumtree website looking for a bricklayer, but warning that “No Irish” need apply.

When The Irish Timesrang the Australian mobile phone number listed on the now removed ad, it was answered by a man with a Northern Ireland accent who did not want to give his name, but said he had placed the ad.

“They were just not turning [up]. It’s a lot different over here, so it is,” he replied when asked why the ad rejected his countrymen. “Coming in hungover on a Monday morning is no good . . . I’m trying to run a business here. I know it sounds bad, but I haven’t meant anything bad by it.”

There are more Irish people than ever before working in Australia. Some 21,753 Irish nationals got working holiday visas in the year to June 30th last – an almost 50 per cent rise on the number the previous year.

A few minutes after the phone call, an Englishman called back from the same number, saying he had placed the ad. “I don’t have any problem with [the] Irish whatsoever,” he said.

“I think this has been blown completely out of proportion, because I just don’t have the time to train an Irish person up at the moment. I think it’s just all gone a bit sideways and people have looked at it the wrong way.”

The man, who also did not give his name, said it never occurred to him that anyone would take offence at the ad. “I do apologise, I’m very, very sorry. I never meant to come across like that.”

Australia’s race discrimination commissioner Helen Szoke has said the advert amounted to discrimination. “It is unlawful to advertise in this way and . . . there are grounds for people to bring a complaint of discrimination to the Australian Human Rights Commission,” Dr Szoke told an Australian website.