A candidate running in the local elections in Kilkenny has said he is disappointed that someone has been cutting down his campaign posters, for what he fears are xenophobic reasons.
Wladek Hanczar, a father of four young children, has lived here for nine years. Originally from Poland, he is seeking to represent the community of Kilkenny City West – but someone has been breaking or stealing his election posters.
Wladek used to work as part of a rescue team in the Galmoy mines, until an accident in 2008 resulted in a serious spinal injury. He is on disability benefit now, and spent €500 on the posters.
He put them up just four days ago, and already four have been destroyed or gone missing, including one in Rosehill and one on Patrick Street at the new Polish shop. He has reported the incidents to the Gardai.
But Mr Hanczar says he will not be put off by the vandals, and says the vast majority of people he meets on the doorsteps in Kilkenny are tolerant and welcoming.
“It’s very sad that someone would do this,” he said.
“Sometimes I meet people and they say ‘you can’t be part of local politics’, or ‘you’re just a visitor, you shouldn’t be on the council’. But they are very few. The feedback I have got is generally fantastic, and the political culture is very high – people ask good questions.”