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TD uses image of Australian family to highlight homelessness in Ireland

The AAA TD Ruth Coppinger tweeted a graphic using an image taken from an Australian news website.

Updated 7pm 

THE ANTI-AUSTERITY Alliance’s (AAA) latest graphic targeting the government and the Irish media uses an image of a homeless family in Australia.

The image has been used in a graphic or meme tweeted by AAA and Socialist TD Ruth Coppinger today to criticise the way in which the controversial protests in Jobstown at the weekend have been reported:

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 17.01.09

The image has been taken from the website of the Herald Sun newspaper in Australia and specifically from a story published in 2010.

In the story a mother known as ‘Michelle’ talks about “enduring her worst nightmare” by living with her two children, aged 11 and 6, in the back seat of her car in Melbourne’s south-east suburbs:

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 17.04.21 Source: Herald Sun

Asked if permission had been sought to use the image, Coppinger said this evening that the person who created the graphic used an image from this ‘stock resources site’.

“We can put up a picture of an Irish family if that’s what people want. We know that there are families sleeping in their own cars as a direct result of Joan Burton’s cut to rent allowance,” she told TheJournal.ie

“I can tell you there are two families who came into my clinic yesterday who are in this situation. It’s a stock image of people sleeping in their cars . It’s something going on around the globe so I don’t think it’s a big deal (to use such an image).”

However, a follow-up story on the Herald Sun website shows another image of ‘Michelle’ and her two children in happier times after they received help. This would indicate the image did not originate on a stock picture website.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 18.57.03 Source: Herald Sun

In another follow-up story on the Herald Sun website, ’Michelle’ says she has been “overwhelmed” by the offers of help since her story was publicised in the paper. The story uses the image again and says it was taken by Alex Coppel.

The Herald Sun newspaper has been contacted for comment this evening.

Paul Murphy: It would have been peaceful to hold Joan Burton for 12 hours

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Hugh O'Connell

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