Europe

Australian lawmaker Kairouz sorry for 'Irish' warning

Marlene Kairouz, pic from from Twitter feed Image copyright Marlene Kairouz
Image caption Ms Kairouz said recent scammers in the area had been backpackers from the UK and Ireland

An Australian lawmaker who advised people not to open the door to anyone with an Irish accent has apologised.

It follows a Facebook row over what one critic called "pure racism".

Marlene Kairouz, a minister in Victoria's state legislature, was warning against unlicensed tradesmen in a campaign event on 29 October.

In a clip aired on local TV in Melbourne, she said: "If anybody knocks on your door that has an Irish accent, automatically ask them to leave."

Messages posted on the Irish around Sydney Facebook group called on the consumer affairs minister to apologise after members of Australia's Irish community labelled her comments "blatantly racist".

One Facebook user said: "How can this get approved to air on TV?

"Pure racism against the Irish. It's a disgrace."

Another person posted: "This is insane. So racist."

Image copyright Nuala Mccann

Ms Kairouz apologised on her Twitter account on Tuesday.

She said recent scammers operating in the area had been backpackers from the UK and Ireland.

But she said she had "delivered this message poorly" and apologised for any offence and her "poor choice of words".