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Abbott offside with Ireland

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been scolded by Irish media and members of the Irish business community over his “patronising” St Patrick’s Day address.

The video was supplied to the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce for their sell-out St Patrick’s Day business lunches in Melbourne and Sydney on Friday, but is not being shown at either event.

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The video bares disturbing similarities to his 2014 St Patrick’s Day address, where he praised the Irish people for their “whimsical disrespect of authority” and again said he wished he could be at the lunch to share “a Guinness or two or three”.

In this year’s video, Mr Abbott declares St Patrick’s Day, which is officially on the 17th, the “one day of the year when it’s good to be green”.

“This is the love of life and good humour that the Irish have given Australia,” Mr Abbott said.

“It has been said that the English made the laws, the Scots made the money and the Irish made the songs.”

Speaking to the Irish Times, one businessman said the video posted on the Liberal Party website showed the prime minister’s lack of awareness.

“I would have hoped for a more business-focused message in a video that was designed for business functions,” he said.

“There are so many good stories of Irish people in business in Australia, Mr Abbott’s lack of awareness of any of that is astonishing.”

Irish site The Journal was also in disbelief over Mr Abbott’s address.

“The Irish ended up in Australia for wealth of reasons, but the main thing we brought was… the songs,” The Journal wrote.

“No, seriously. That’s according to the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in his 2015 St Patrick’s Day address to the nation.”

The Irish Examiner also ran the video with a series of scathing Tweets, declaring Mr Abbott’s message “hasn’t been going down too well”.

Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce chief executive Barry Corr told the Irish Times the video would not be part of the event because it wasn’t appropriate for the audience.

“We understand that the prime minister’s video message is a generic St Patrick’s Day message, not intended for the corporate audience at our event, and on that basis it is not part of the event,” Mr Corr said.

This is not the first time Mr Abbott has offended Australia’s Irish community.

As opposition leader in 2011, Mr Abbott said the Gillard Labor government was “a bit like the Irishman who lost 10 pounds betting on the Grand National and then lost 20 pounds on the action replay”.

His office was subsequently forced to apologise to the Embassy of Ireland in Canberra, who complained about the remarks.

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