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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 11 November, 2019

Publican refuses to hire foreign nationals to greet customers

Charlie Chawke has said he only employs Irish workers as front-of-house staff.

Image: Irish pub/Shutterstock

WELL-KNOWN PUBLICAN CHARLIE Chawke has caused some controversy by saying that foreign nationals should not be hired as front-of-house staff in pubs.

Chawke, who owns several pubs, said he likes to have Irish people ”seating, meeting and greeting people” and giving the “Céad Míle Fáilte”.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, he said it had been “well-established by Bord Fáilte and others that when people come to Dublin or to Ireland, they want to visit the Irish pub.”

He remarked that his understanding of this is that tourists “want to meet Irish people and they want to engage with them”.

Once Irish people welcome his customers, he said he has no problem with non-nationals serving them or cooking the food.

In my opinion, [Irish people are] best at service … It’s what the tourists are looking for.

Chawke was defending comments attributed to him in an Irish Independent article in which he said he was “misquoted a bit”.

His views quickly became a talking point on Twitter, with most of the reactions being negative.

Chawke said he was aware of the legal issues surrounding his stance, but noted: “We have very many non-nationals working for us … they do their job and they do it very well.”

Also speaking on Morning Ireland, Seán Quinn, the Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland, said “there’s no evidence from consumers” that they prefer being greeted by Irish staff, noting that many expect a mutlinational workforce, particularly in Dublin.

Immigrant Council

Jerry O’Connor from the Immigrant Council of Ireland criticised Chawke’s comments, saying: “Hospitality, humour and the ability to extend a Céad Míle Fáilte are not unique to Irish people. While the traditional Irish pub is world famous, many have benefitted from the talents, skills and hospitality of staff from across the globe.”

O’Connor went on to add that 17% of “people who call Ireland home” were born in another country.

To suggest they should be excluded from employment in hospitality, or any other sector, is not only wrong but if implemented by any employer, on the basis of nationality, would be illegal.

Chawke bought the Orchard Inn in Rathfarnham for €22 million, making it the most expensive pub ever bought in Ireland

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Órla Ryan

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