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Emigrants rubbish ‘fighting Irish’ news reports by Australian news channel

An Australian TV show featured rowdy ‘guests in our country’ and slammed loutish emigrant behaviour unfairly, it is claimed.

A still image from Channel Nine's news report, which claimed that Irish drinkers were the root of severe anti-social behaviour problems in Sydney.
A still image from Channel Nine's news report, which claimed that Irish drinkers were the root of severe anti-social behaviour problems in Sydney.
Image: Channel Nine

IRISH EMIGRANTS to Australia have criticised a national TV current affairs show after it broadcast a report apparently showcasing the misbehaviour of drunken Irish louts.

Channel Nine’s ‘A Current Affair’ show on Monday broadcast a stinging six-minute report, featuring secretly-filmed footage that the show promised “will disgust you”, featuring uncouth “guests in our country” who were making life a misery for local residents outside a notoriously rough nightspot at Sydney’s Bondi Junction.

While the report did not name Irish immigrants in the city as being the cause of the violence, an interviewee suggested that “many of them are Irish”, while another man said he doubted they’d get away with such behaviour in County Kerry “or wherever the hell they’re from.” The report regularly featured Irish traditional music in the background, and featured several shots of Irish flags flying over the Cock n Bull pub, the Irish pub outside which much of the featured violence took place.

The feature portrayed Irish immigrants in such a negative light that it was even the lead topic on Monday afternoon’s Liveline, where callers disputed how dangerous Bondi Junction was – and how responsible for the trouble that Irish people were.

Irish ‘used as scapegoat’

Irish expats in Australia, however, have insisted that while the area may indeed be a dangerous one, it is not just Irish immigrants who are responsible for any rough behaviour.

“The area attracts a huge number of Irish, English and Kiwis, plus the local Aussies,” one Irishman familiar with the area said.

While the reputation for the Cock n Bull pub – as well as the nearby Tea Gardens pub – as a backpackers’ pub was somewhat deserved, the Irishman said it was unfair to imply that Irish tourists – who “seem to come out here and stay in their little groups” – were destroying nightlife in the city.

Instead, the bars were well known as simply “just bad pubs… if you were to go to a bad pub that has a majority of French clientele, then the chances of you having a fight with a drunken Frenchman is higher.”

A separate report, published in 2008, showed that neither the Cock n Bull nor the Tea Gardens featured in the upper realms of a police chart of the most violent nightspots.

Only one of the pubs ranked as Sydney’s most violent, the Coogee Bay, could accurately be described as a ‘backpacker pub’, an expatriate told TheJournal.ie.

“New South Wales has a problem with alcohol-fuelled violence, and A Current Affair are attempting to use the Irish as a scapegoat.”

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Gavan Reilly

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