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19 April, 2014 |
13:23 GMT

Irish Independent article ‘completely not true’ | Print |  Email
Sunday, 05 February 2012

A Polish woman who, in an interview with a Polish newspaper, was alleged to have suggested that she was a ‘welfare tourist’, spoke on the John Murray show on RTÉ radio on Thursday morning to refute the allegations. Giving her name as Magda, as she did not wish to be identified, she said the allegations were ‘completely not true’ and were not just a mistranslation or misinterpretation.

It’s not clear how the translation used in the Irish Independent was so inaccurate. Magda was reported as referring to Donegal as a “shithole” and describing her life on social welfare as like a “Hawaiian massage”. Instead she considers Donegal to be “heaven” and never wants to live anywhere else. When she found herself unemployed she did collect unemployment benefit but used the time to undertake a FÁS course on massage therapy so that she can start her own business.

Magda, now known to be Gaia Kowalik (38), has lived in Dunfanaghy for a number of years, working as a nanny and in the hospitality industry. The article in the Irish Independent prompted a Twitter outburst from Labour Party Senator Jimmy Harte, for which he has since apologised. The Irish Independent has also acknowledged that it got it all wrong.

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