UKIP hires Irish actor for poster attacking use of foreign labour
AN anti-immigration campaign by the right-wing Ukip political party in Britain stars an Irishman as an unemployed builder unable to get work because of cheaper foreign labour.
The poster, published last week by the Eurosceptic party, features the 'builder' – who is in fact an Irish actor – in a hi-viz jacket and a hard hat begging on the street next to the slogans "EU policy at work" and "British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labour".
It has emerged the builder is played by Irishman Dave O'Rourke, originally from Dublin, who has been living and working in the UK for the past decade.
His online actor profile reveals Mr O'Rourke has appeared in a number of professional and amateur-produced films, as well as appearing on television and on stage.
One notable production mentioned on the profile is the film 'Saltwater', which was written and directed by Conor McPherson and starred Brian Cox and Brendan Gleeson.
The decision to cast an Irish actor in an anti-immigration campaign ahead of the country's May 22 elections was raised by the UK's Conservative party MP Bob O'Neill, who criticised the party for using a foreign actor.
"I think it is pretty hypocritical of Ukip. They always like to say 'we are not part of the political establishment', they like to claim they are the party of ordinary people.
"They are using a trick most other parties stopped using long ago, because they get found out doing it."
However, Ukip has rejected the criticism by its rivals and said government foreign secretary William Hague had performed a similar stunt when leader of the Conservative party.
"It is nonsense for the Conservative Party to try and depict this as anything out of the ordinary. I would suggest that the only substantive difference between our poster campaign and Mr Hague's is that ours is proving popular and successful while his was followed by a landslide defeat."
It is the second blunder by Ukip in as many days after the party was forced to suspend a local election candidate after he made racist comments on a social network website.