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'Magda' says Irish Independent story was 'completely not true'

The Polish woman at the centre of a controversial article which was mistranslated from a Polish newspaper has spoken out about her shock at the description of her life on the dole.

Tra More beach in Donegal (File photo)
Tra More beach in Donegal (File photo)
Image: Wikicommons

THE POLISH WOMAN at the centre of a controversial article which purported to describe her ‘wonderful’ life on the dole in Ireland has spoken out to say the description of her views was “completely not true”.

The woman, known only as ‘Magda’, told RTÉ Radio One’s John Murray Show this morning that the article in yesterday’s Irish Independent – based on an interview she gave to a Polish newspaper – had shocked her and said her real life is a “completely different story”.

The article said that ‘Magda’ thought that life on the dole was like a “Hawaiian massage” and said she had told the Polish newspaper that Donegal is a “shithole”. Labour senator Jimmy Harte reacted to the article by saying he would pay for the woman’s airfare to return to Poland.

However, the Polish ambassador to Ireland said in a letter to the newspaper that the article contained ”many inaccuracies”  which “could have been easily avoided if only the Polish article had been translated correctly or its content presented in a more objective manner.”

The original article in the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza revealed that while the 36-year-old did claim social welfare, it was not a situation she enjoyed.

‘Magda’ told The John Murray Show on RTÉ Radio that she had been told by friends of the controversy the Irish Independent translation of the article had caused.

At first I was completely shocked. You don’t know what to think. How is it possible for anybody to publish something that is just not true, completely not true and it’s not just misinterpretation, you know, or mistranslation – it’s just a completely different story.

She said things had been added to even the Polish version of the story but said most of it was about her actual life in a town near Letterkenny in Donegal. ‘Magda’ said that when she read the Irish Independent article she was “very worried”.

“People here, they know me well and they would know that this is not me,” she said.

The trained nanny revealed that she has lived in Ireland for the past six years and has been on the dole for the past year-and-a-half having previously worked in a hotels, hostels, and waitressing.

The thing is that jobs are scarce here. It is difficult, especially as I don’t drive so I can’t go to bigger towns.

“The other thing is that I worked in the hospitality industry and qualified as massage therapist and that’s something I wanted to do for a really long time and I decided that’s an option to start my own business, to do what I really want to do.”

‘Magda’ said that she has done a number of FÁS courses to help her set up her own business which she hopes to set up by Easter.

Of her actual lifestyle on the dole she added: ”My needs are not very high. That is in the article, I really try to live as cheap as possible. I don’t spend money on clothes, cosmetics, going out to the pub.

“I don’t have money for that. I have money for basic survival and that’s okay with me.”

Waitress told: ‘Go back to Poland’ after description of life on the dole in Ireland

Polish Ambassador responds to Irish Independent’s ‘Magda’ dole article: Full text

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Hugh O'Connell

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