Irish businessman says backpackers won't return to 'prison state' Australia after lockdowns
Melbourne restauranteur Liam Ganley told of his struggle to find staff in recent months
An Irish man who runs a restaurant in Australia has warned that backpackers won’t return to Oz because of the country's reputation as a “prison state” following its strict Covid lockdowns.
Melbourne restauranteur Liam Ganley, who is originally from Galway, told of his struggle to find staff in recent months and said he became so desperate that he even offered a package of flights, accommodation, and sponsorship worth around $13,000 (€8,600) to try and entice workers.
But, in an appearance on Australian breakfast show Sunrise, he revealed that the campaign was a complete disaster as he didn’t receive any applications.
Instead, Liam’s business received “droves” of angry comments from Irish and British backpackers who felt like they were unwanted Down Under and vowed to never go back.
He explained: “We just got basically abused – droves of comments saying ‘Why would anybody want to go back there? Why would anyone want to go to the prison state that is Victoria, where we were all thrown out of when lockdown first hit?’
“I think the reputation has been really badly damaged around the world and it’s kind of coming back to bite us now.
“They were just saying ‘We were there in 2020, we were basically told to leave, that we weren't wanted here anymore.’
“They were given no support, they were treated very unfairly and very badly,” he added.
Mr Ganley claimed that “hard-working people that were in this country paying their fair share of tax” and “contributing to this economy” were simply told to “go back home” when the pandemic hit as the Australian state could no longer support them.
“It's made a lot of airtime in the media back in Ireland given the fact that thousands and thousands of Brits and Irish come here every year, and the word has got around.”
EXCLUSIVE | Gardaí say no ‘formal complaint’ made over alleged attack by Rory Gallagher on wife
Sicko | Whizzkid caught with one of Ireland’s largest child porn hauls dating ‘vulnerable’ woman
EXCLUSIVE | Christy Dignam’s daughter Kiera says ‘I will keep my dad’s legacy alive’
'devastated' | Irishman’s body accidentally left on plane at Dublin Airport and returned to Greece
'really lucky’ | Dad pays tribute to friends and teachers who saved young son’s life after collapse at school
GAME IS UP | Irish women using secret Facebook group to screen men for ‘red flags’ and ‘toxic’ behaviour
'set up' | Former garda claims miscarriage of justice after spending 20 months in jail
Knife attack | Young man (21) stabbed at North Kerry beach
'devastated' | No charges for teacher accused of ‘punching and kicking’ up to 30 primary school pupils
Mar-ital bliss | Rugby star Joey Carbery and bride Robyn Flanagan share Marbella wedding pics