‘You’re welcome here’ – Australian Embassy apologises for Minister’s ‘racist’ comments about Irish people

‘You’re welcome here’ – Australian Embassy apologises for Minister’s ‘racist’ comments about Irish people

THE Australian Embassy in Dublin has told Irish people they are welcome Down Under after a Minister warned homeowners about people with “Irish accents”.

It comes after Australia’s Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz, warned Australian residents not to open their doors to Irish people after reports of rogue traders preying on the elderly.

Kairouz said: “If anybody knocks on your door that has an Irish accent, automatically ask them to leave.”

Following massive backlash about her perceived ‘racism’ on social media, the Minister later apologised for causing offence in a series of tweets.

In a statement, Richard Andrews of the Australian Embassy in Dublin said that Ms Kairouz’s comments were “poorly chosen” and that are Irish people are welcome in his native country.

"Australia has a warm and friendly relationship with Ireland, and continues to welcome the significant numbers of Irish people who choose to visit or migrate to Australia,” he said.

“Over more than two centuries, people of Irish birth and heritage have made a hugely positive contribution to Australia, and continue to do so.

“The warmth of the history and the family ties between Australia and Ireland couldn’t be greater. Australia is the most Irish country in the world (apart from Ireland, of course).”

He added: “The best way to sum up the attitudes of the Australian people towards the Irish is to quote the Prime Minister (Malcolm Turnbull):

“‘You’re so warmly welcomed. You’re among friends and among family’.”

Australia is home to around 70,000 Irish-born citizens, while a further two million Australians claim Irish heritage.

Marlene Kairouz was born in Melbourne, Victoria in 1975 to Lebanese immigrant parents.

On Tuesday, she issued an apology on Twitter, saying: “Yesterday I made a comment at a scam awareness campaign launch that caused offence to people with Irish heritage.

“Recent scammers have been backpackers from the UK & Ireland and I was giving this information to the public.

“I admit I delivered this message poorly. I sincerely apologise for causing offence and my poor choice of words.”