THE IRISH AMBASSADOR to Australia has strongly criticised the use of ‘belittling national stereotypes’ in the country’s media.
Writing in The Age, Noel White slammed the paper’s portrayal of Padraig Gaffney, an Irishman who pleaded guilty to causing €300,000 worth of damage to a Melbourne Hotel and was found dead just days later.
The paper headlined the piece with “Drunk Paddy in A$500k flood of tears”, but has changed this on its website.
White likened this to “the caricature of the fighting, drinking, dissolute Irish, notoriously promulgated in the pages of Punch in the 19th century”.
“The headline succeeds in simultaneously demeaning an individual and taking a swipe at an entire national group,” White said.
Incidents such as this cause hurt. That hurt is all the greater when it happens in a country where Irish people feel at home.
“References of the “Drunk Paddy” variety, when they arise, retain the capacity to stir bad memories,” he added, “It is deeply upsetting to be described in these limited and negative terms.”
White said that the use of “offensive language and belittling national stereotypes has no place in our modern discourse”.
He praised the “new cohort of Irish” that have arrived in Australia, describing them as “talented and hard working”.