We are delighted to announce that the Brisbane Gala Luncheon raised over $80,000 these funds will be used to continue the work of the Australian Ireland Fund in integrated education in the North of Ireland, educational scholarships for indigenous Australians and also to fund our two flagship projects in Southern Ireland this year, Barnardos Loughlinstown and Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Services.
The lunch took place on Sunday 11 August 2013 at the charming Hillstone St. Lucia. The weather was beautiful – perfect for guests to enjoy welcome drinks and canapés on the terrace overlooking the stunning St. Lucia Golf Links. We were delighted to see so many of our Brisbane regulars and also some new faces.
Australian Ireland Fund Director, Sallyanne Atkinson AO welcomed guests, many from Brisbane’s top corporate institutions. Special guests on the day included Chairman John O’Neill AO and his wife Julie, Ambassador of Ireland to Australia Noel White, Australian Ireland Fund Directors Tom Moore, Frank Curran and Peter Ryan and Executive Director Teresa Keating.
MC for the day was Ben Dobson, former Channel 9 newsreader who outlined activities for the day and kept the day running smoothly.
The Chairman provided an update on the activities of the Australian Ireland Fund and this year’s two new flagship projects, Darndale and Barnardos Loughlinstown, which are located in some of Dublin’s most deprived suburbs. Darndale works with children with development delays or disabilities, as well as children with emotional difficulties… children who live in an environment where they witness substance abuse, violence and other traumatic events on a daily basis. Barnardos focuses on helping families in crisis — facing the challenges thrown at them by intergeneration unemployment, poor housing, environmental decay, substance abuse, lack of recreational facilities and safe spaces for their children to play. Loughlinstown has high levels of young lone parent families. And because of poor local infrastructure, there is a high level of isolation for parents and children. Many of the parents are in debt to local money lenders and in some cases this has spiralled out of control.
Suffice to say both of these Dublin projects have had major funding cuts. Without the assistance of the Australian Ireland Fund and our generous supporters, neither NGO could maintain their current level of service and quality for another year.
The Chairman also indicated there is much work to be done and encouraged those present to help us to spread the word about our work and let us know of any contacts guests feel would like to know about us.
The Chairman thanked major sponsors in particular; Qantas Alan Joyce and Lia York who represented Qantas on the day. Australian Radio Network and Ciaran Davis, Charles Curran AC and Capital Investment Group.
Ambassador Noel White was then invited to speak.
Ambassador White spoke of the invaluable role played by the Ireland Funds down through the years in support of peace and reconciliation throughout the island of Ireland. He thanked the Australian Ireland Fund for the part that it has played and continues to play as part of the wider family of Ireland Funds.
He emphasised the importance of the work of the Australian Ireland Fund in helping to embed peace and reconciliation by building sustainable community relations based on respect and tolerance.
He described the work of the AIF as a worthy and appropriate strand in the relations between Ireland and Australia, reflecting the deep ties between the two countries.
Finally a student from Marist College Ashgrove, Jerome Pang spoke so eloquently about how he personally benefits from the quality education he receives at Marist College; he thanked his Principal Peter McLoughlin the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and the Australian Ireland Fund.
Guests were entertained by Sasta, acclaimed local traditional band.
The Live auction was conducted by Bruce Smith from Ray White Real Estate, who expertly whipped the crowd into a great state of excitement, thanks to all our donors and of course our guests who bid on different items.
Thank you to our table captains and sponsors, quite simply our work would not be possible without your help.