Despite three years of international teaching experience, Katie Mulrennan was denied a job in South Korea due to the perceived drinking habits of Irish people
Despite three years of international teaching experience, Katie Mulrennan was denied a job in South Korea due to the perceived drinking habits of Irish people.Source: Facebook

A teacher from the Republic of Ireland has been turned down for a job in South Korea because of the "alcoholism nature" of Irish people.

Katie Mulrennan, 26, applied for a teaching job in Seoul, but was told by an agency that the organisation she submitted her CV to did not hire Irish people, due to their perceived drinking habits.

After emailing her application in response to a job advert on listings website Craigslist, Mulrennan received the following reply: "I am sorry to inform you that my client does not hire Irish people due to the alcoholism nature of your kind. Best of luck in future."

"It was disappointing because these employers did not even get to see me," Mulrennan told BBC News. "They never spoke to me and didn't get a chance to hear what I sounded like."

Mulrennan, from County Kerry, told the agency that she had three years of experience teaching English in Oxford, Barcelona and Abu Dhabi, as well as in Korea.

"Usually when you apply for a job and they don't want you, they don't send a reply," she said.

"Or they tell you they would prefer someone from North America, because some schools prefer the accent.

"But this reply was a first. When I got the email, it was so abrupt and short. I actually laughed when I read it initially. But then I wanted to write back a really angry response.

"In the end, I took a deep breath and sent back a reply that was a little bit sarcastic as I couldn't believe the email I had received. But I haven't heard anything back since."

Mulrennan reported the posting from the unnamed employer to Craigslist. She has since found a job and is now philosophical about the incident.

"I was annoyed about it but I can also see it was a little bit hilarious as well," she said. "A friend saw it and encouraged me to post it online as it might go viral.

"It's just another silly thing poking fun at Irish people. But then I put it online and people started getting in touch. I still love the country and being in Seoul."

A 2013 survey by the Washington Post found that South Korea was one of the least racially tolerant countries in the world, with a third of people saying they did not want someone of a different race living next to them as a neighbour.

The survey attributed xenophobic attitudes in the country to South Korea's view of its own racial and national identity as unique, to the influx of south-east Asian neighbours, and to long-held tensions with Japan.