9th September, 2014

Sydney Mary McAleese Dinner 2014

Date : 9th September, 2014

The Australian Ireland Fund welcomes Dr. Mary McAleese back to Sydney.

Join us for a Black Tie Dinner at the Star Event Centre
at 7pm on September 9 2014 

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to inform you that on Tuesday 9 September Dr. Mary McAleese – the immediate past President of Ireland – will be Guest of Honour at a Dinner hosted byThe Australian Ireland Fund. We will welcome Dr. McAleese and her husband – Martin – back to Sydney on their first visit to Australia since her retirement from the Presidency in 2011. It will be a spectacular occasion at which we will have the opportunity to celebrate the former President’s many remarkable achievements, not least her outstanding work in promoting all the richness inherent in the uniquely close relationship between Ireland and Australia.

It was of course no accident that the country to which the then recently inaugurated President paid her first State Visit was to Australia. Each of us will have our treasured memories of the time she spent with us. For my part I have the enduring memory of her heartfelt words of admiration and appreciation for the contribution of The Australian Ireland Fund to an entire range of impressive and practical projects (from funding community partnerships in new joint ventures to integrated education in schools and colleges) that helped to promote peace and reconciliation within Northe Ireland and to draw people together in Ireland – North and South. She inspired us all to continue to plant and to grow ‘the green shoots of hope’ into what has become one of the outstandingly successful peace processes across the inteational community.

Of additional and special relevance to the Australian Ireland Fund was the then President’s agreement to launch – in her address at the Sydney Opera House – the fundraising campaign to establish a permanent Chair in Irish Studies at the University of New South Wales. UNSW has long been the leading Australian University in Irish Australian historical scholarship – initially established under the guidance and genius of the late Professor Patrick O’Farrell. The Australian Ireland Fund was delighted to contribute to that great project – and with the agreement of our much cherished and long time member Mary Lee – was honoured to welcome the establishment of The Australian Ireland Fund Chair in Mode Irish Studies at the University in early 2010.

Indeed, we have all benefitted enormously over the last four years and more from the dedicated work of the highly talented and energetic Professor Ronan McDonald who has brought such outstanding intellect and value to his position as the inaugural incumbent of The Australian Ireland Fund Chair in Mode Irish Studies at UNSW. However, there is now an urgent need for us all to help to maintain the Chair firstly, as funding runs out at the end of this year.  Our help is also required to continue and expand the entire area of Irish Studies at UNSW – and when she was approached earlier this year Mary McAleese readily agreed to retu to Sydney – with the generous support of my immediate predecessor Alan Joyce the CEO of Qantas – to relaunch the campaign to support the unique work of the Australian Ireland Fund Chair and to consolidate the entire Irish Studies program on a long term sustainable and secure basis.

I therefore urge you to take a table – join with friends or come as individual members – to meet Mary McAleese and to support a great cause – and indeed to lea more of the many other great causes we support both in Ireland and here in Australia.

The Australian Ireland Fund Black Tie Dinner will be held at The Star Event Centre, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont at 7.00pm on 9 September. To reserve your table please fill out and retu the attached Reservation form as directed.

Please do join us for a wonderful evening!

Yours sincerely,

John O’Neill AO
The Australian Ireland Fund     

Official Invite
A thank you to major sponsors Qantas and The Star
If you have any queries please contact Melissa Fisher at mfisher@irlfunds.org