No, this is not the return of 19th-century anti-Irish sentiment.

What looks like an offensively xenophobic movement to dispel Toronto of the Irish is actually quite a clever marketing stunt to help lure expats home to apply their talents in Ireland.

Dublin-based ad agency The Social House has dispersed a series of ads proclaiming ‘Irish, Go Home!’ around Toronto that urges people to visit, where the provocative gesture is clarified:

According to Social House staffer Colin Hart, the goal is to “bring good people back from Canada, Australia and all over — so it was done to promote a bit of a reaction.”

Around 20,000 Irish came to Canada following the recession years of 2008 and 2009, which is a considerable brain drain for a country of less than five million in need of talented individuals to buoy a less-than-thriving economy.

“We’re not anti-emigration, but we’d love to lure some of these internationally seasoned brains back home by pretending to be Anti-Irish-Canadians,” the company said in a statement following mixed reactions on social media.

Even if you don’t agree with their methods, you can’t argue that it’s getting the ads a lot of attention.

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