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Tuesday 28 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C

Debunked: No, this is not a picture of Bulgarian workers outside a supermarket in Dublin this week

The photo has been widely shared on social media and messaging services.


THERE HAS BEEN much conversation today, online and from Irish politicians, about the arrival to Ireland of seasonal workers for the horticulture sector. 

Keelings Fruits confirmed this afternoon that 189 workers arrived from Bulgaria on a chartered flight to Dublin Airport earlier this week. The Irish Government’s List Of Essential Providers states ‘Farmers & Farm Workers’ are essential providers during Covid-19. The north county Dublin firm claimed just 40 people from the local area had applied for jobs which required fulfilling in recent weeks.

The news, however, attracted much criticism.

As part of the online conversation, there was a photo purporting to show the newly arrived workers outside a Lidl supermarket being widely shared with the caption:

“were social distancing keelings staff doing there shopping in swords, waiting on bus to bring them back to there accommodation. staff from keelings.” [sic]

Among those who shared the picture was MEP Clare Daly.

However, the woman who took the photo has since confirmed it was taken a full year ago and, therefore, does not show Bulgarian workers who arrived in the country this week. 


Speaking to, Shantelle Farrell confirmed it was taken at Lidl on the Rathbeale Road in Swords on 18 April 2019 – almost a year to the day ago. 


“I don’t even know how people got that off my page,” she added. 

Daly has since clarified on Twitter that the photo was not taken today. 

In a statement today, Keelings said the 189 people who were on board the Ryanair charter were health screened in Bulgaria and are restricting their movements for 14 days. 



There is a lot of false news and scaremongering  being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not. 


Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere. 

Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate. 

Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

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