“Dumb Irish” stereotype gets yet another airing

The Media have once again aired the common stereotype about the comic incompetence of the “Dumb Irish”, who are always good for a laugh.

And the commentors have been quick to climb on board.

Ireland, it seems, is inhabited by characters straight out of Fr Ted and Mrs Brown’s Boys, and now they are invading New Zealand making our roads unsafe.

A headline on the Stuff website read “Irish driver up the creek over kayak on car.”

A photograph was posted showing a car parked on the side of the road with a kayak perched sideways on its roof.

“It defies belief but a tourist thought it best to tie his kayak side-ways across his car roof to drive through Coromandel’s busy rural roads,” said the article.

“To make matters worse, the Irish driver could not see the danger in such an unorthodox method.”

“The driver was unrepentant telling the officer that stopped him that if he secured the kayak long-ways as he is supposed to it would cause damage to the roof of his car,” Inspector Freda Grace of Waikato District police said.

The story has gone global and been reported by Irish media.

Stuff subsequently slipped in a link to the original news item: Police have since apologised for saying the driver was Irish.

The driver was not Irish, he lives in Auckland.

Stuff invited readers to comment by responding to the question What’s the stupidest thing you’ve seen on our roads?

A number of the 68 comments, confirmed the  “dumb Irish” stereotyping.

But as the truth emerged later comments began to redress the balance.

One commenter wrote “Unfortunately, after living in this country for almost 10 years, I’m not at all surprised by this stereotyping (not so much in the article, but in the below comments)… Rarely a week goes by where I don’t hear some kind of a reference to “drunk Irish” “potatoes” “etc etc either out socialising or in the office. Sad for what is otherwise a fantastic country to live in.

The driver, Jonathan Waters, from Auckland, said he was “stumped” when he heard the police said he was Irish.

Waters said he had just left Tairua when a gust of wind tore off the front roof rack, which caused the kayak to swing around.

He turned on his hazard lights and pulled over.

A police car travelling in the opposite direction pulled over and the officer helped Waters while he removed the kayak from the vehicle, he said.

Waters said he agreed with the officer that it was not safe to drive with the kayak sideways and assured her he would not do so.

The officer had to leave to attend a serious crash and apologised for not being able to help further, he said.

“I genuinely appreciate the help she gave me. However, I do feel that it is important to recognise that she did not give me a warning about dangerous driving, formal or otherwise.”

Waters said he did not want to undermine the police but there had been “untruths” reported so far.

Waters took to Facebook over the matter.

“So apparently I am an Irish tourist who decided that tying my kayak onto the car sideways was the plan A of the day.”

“Good old Kiwi cops and their direct quotes of immense untruthfulness.”


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , , , ,