Young Irish immigrants in Australia are queuing for food at a Perth Soup Kitchen, according to Australian news reports.
Sydney based Irish Echo newspaper reports that Irish backpackers are joining the masses queuing for food from a soup kitchen at Weld Square park in Perth.
Manna Inc is one of the largest providers of meals for disadvantaged people in Perth. Co-Founder Bev Lowe, 72, said some Irish immigrants are now seeking their help.
“There are a few Irish, I must admit,” Lowe told the newspaper.
“Well, when I’m on the street and I see them, I say ‘This meal is for homeless people, it’s obvious you’re not homeless, will you please step out of my line?’ And if they say no, I say to them, ‘You really don’t want me to embarrass you, do you? Step out. Now if I have meals at the end of the night, you’re welcome. But we feed the homeless first’. I think that’s a reasonable thing to say,” she said.
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The director of the voluntary organization empathizes with their plight.
“I do understand there are people who arrive in this country on the promise of a job or expecting to get a job and it fades away. And then they’re left high, dry and handsome.”
Joan Ross of the Claddagh Association made a trip to the soup kitchen last week and told the Echo there were around 120 people there.
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“We asked did they often get Irish and they said last year there was an awful lot of young Irish people that queued up all the time for food. And this year, there’s not as many. It never came to our attention last year, but this year it has,” she said.
Ross concluded: “I think we’ve a lot more delving to do into it, to see exactly what’s happening.”
Meanwhile the Claddagh Association has expressed concerns that many Irish immigrants are ill prepared when they arrive.
“We just had Christmas and New Year, and I think a lot of the backpackers have been having a good time,” Claddagh Association president Joan Ross told the Irish Echo.
“Some of these backpackers have come to Australia totally unprepared, with not enough cash to last a month. One guy we met this week had a one-way ticket and a few hundred dollars to his name. He got work for cash-in-hand, but the guy didn’t pay him.
“He was going to be homeless unless we picked him up. We managed to get him a temporary job, and paid for a hostel, because there was no one else to do it. Sometimes a bit of a leg-up is all they need.”