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Don Lavery: Deportation threat to Irish yobs in Oz

DRUNKEN young Irish people involved in alcohol-fuelled violence and the destruction of property face having their visas investigated and being deported from Australia, police have warned.

Local GAA clubs are being asked to get involved and educate young Irish immigrants and backpackers about their destructive behaviour.

The warning follows a series of reports concerning drunken Irish yobs causing havoc in parts of Perth, Western Australia. Police and residents said they were extremely unhappy and appalled by the amount of antisocial behaviour.

Western Australian police said they wanted to get the message across to all Irish people in Perth that what has been happening was not acceptable and if it continues there would be consequences.

"It is clear that there are some significant differences in the policing of licensed premises in Australia to those in Ireland," said Inspector Paul Steel. He said young people have been warned that if they don't abide by the law their visas would be investigated and they could face possible deportation.

An email sent to members of St Finbarr's GFC club said Perth police are "extremely unhappy and appalled by the antisocial behaviour taking place all too often on the streets and in the pubs across Perth".

The email also stated: "Even rental agencies are not willing to rent properties to Irish people in Perth as they are getting destroyed during parties and being left in terrible conditions once vacated."

The email advised members that Western Australia police would be speaking to "all of the GAA clubs".

"This is a very serious matter and I hope that you and your friends will now be aware of the consequences" should incidents with the police occur, it warned. "Not something we are encouraging, that is for sure," it said.

The email, from 'Linda H', president of St Finbarr's GFC, concludes: "Please spread the word to your fellow Irish, as this is affecting all of our reputations here, not only the people who are causing the trouble."

A police spokesperson said: "This action is in response to reports of a disproportionate number of Irish involved in offences within these entertainment precincts. The Irish, however, are only one nationality in a number associated with the backpacker scene where further targeted activities are planned to increase awareness of local liquor licensing and criminal laws."

Western Australia GAA president Robert O'Callaghan said: "Basically, some Irish officers based here, who have got friends in the Perth clubs, took it upon themselves to have a chat with the Irish football and hurling association just to let them know what was going on."

He said the police were using the GAA as a platform to pass on the message to the wider community.

Mr O'Callaghan said he had been living in Australia for more than 23 years and personally hadn't seen any issues with Irish people in Perth.

However, Bridget Kelly, originally from Longford but who has been living in Australia for 20 years and operates a bar called the Shed in Perth, told Newstalk's Breakfast Show that she didn't want to see it get to the stage where the opportunities for the Irish would diminish because of a few.

She said there was a lot of work for young Irish people and it would be dreadful to see the few that were causing the problem making it so difficult for others who wanted to emigrate to Australia.

"Mostly it's all alcohol-fuelled violence and involves damage to property.

"A lot of the venues are just getting fed up with the damage to property, the violence, even fighting with each other, stuff that's never happened before and that's getting really, really bad."

She said the new wave of Irish coming to the country was very different to those that came five years ago.

Ms Kelly said she had spoken to police and they said 90 per cent of arrests made at the weekend involved Irish people.

"He said their cells were just full every weekend and when they woke up from their comatose state they were very apologetic and just said, 'I'm sorry, I never do that', and it's too late."

Sunday Independent