On Thursday the 6th of March 2014, Lady Mary Fairfax graciously opened her home to the Australian Ireland Fund. The aim of the night was to say thank you to our valued supporters and provide an update on the activities of the Fund and Ireland.
Chairman John O’Neill AO, welcomed board members; Ambassador Noel White, Treasurer Yvonne le Bas, Jane Cosgrove, Ron Porter, Peter Ryan, Prof. Ronan McDonald, Paul O’Brien, Prof. Iain Watson and Executive Director Teresa Keating.
Special guests in attendance included Dr. Stanley Quek – Chairman of the Singapore Ireland Fund. Andrew Penfold AM, CEO of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, Niall O’Muilleoir Strategic Advisor to the Ireland Funds and Colin Egan President of the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce Melbourne.
Governors, Charles Curran AC, Lady Fairfax AC OBE, Mary Lee, Kim Maloney, The O’Brien Family, Ron Porter, Dr Stanley Quek, Peter Ryan, Toni Ryan and Briege Tuite were also thanked for their continued support.
Major sponsors Porche, KPMG, Six Sense- Kristen Bashir, Diageo-Tim Salt, Posh Boutique- Maura Dempsey Englman, Peter Ryan, Ron Porter, The Star and Paul O’Brien were also thanked.
Unfortunately Lady Fairfax was unable to join us. However The Chairman presented a bouquet of Lady Fairfax’s favourite native flowers as a token of Fund’s appreciation of her unwavering support, to Lee Thomas.
The Chairman also acknowledged and congratulated the Funds’ members for their support throughout the year and spoke of the outcomes that had been achieved for the Funds projects – Barnardos Loughlinstown, Darndale Belcamp Integrated Child Services and scholarships for disadvantaged Indigenous Australians together with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and integrated education in Northern Ireland.
Great excitement was generated at the announcement of former President of Ireland Mary McAleese’s trip to Australia in September and the opportunity the Fund has to hold an event in her honour. The Chairman’s speech was concluded with a presentation to Ron Porter and his wife Helen, as Ron has stepped down from the board but remains deeply involved as a Governor and major sponsor.
Adrian Hanley, Chair of the Melbourne chapter of the Young Leaders spoke about his personal commitment to the Fund and its projects having had a firsthand experience with Darndale from his schoolboy days in Ireland. He expressed his excitement at the opportunities that the Melbourne chapter were exploring to contribute to the Fund.
Ambassador White provided and update on the political and economic environment in Ireland. He thanked guests on behalf of the government and people of Ireland for their continued support of the important work of the Australian Ireland Fund.