8th August, 2012

Sydney Supporters Lunch 2012

The Australian Ireland Fund annual 2012 Sydney Supporters Luncheon was once again kindly hosted by Mr. David Wiadrowski of Pricewaterhouse Coopers. The impressive and welcoming Sydney Room at the Pricewaterhouse Coopers Sydney Headquarters on Sussex Street was a lovely venue for the luncheon which was attended by over 50 of the Fund’s generous supporters.

Executive Director Teresa Keating acknowledged that everyone in the room had supported the Fund in some way over the last year and extended a special welcome to Ambassador Noel White; Dr Stanley Quek, Chairman of the Singapore Ireland Fund; and Consul General Caitriona Ingoldsby. Teresa welcomed Australian Ireland Fund Directors: Yvonne le Bas, Treasurer; Jane Cosgrove; Frank Curran; Dr Tom Moore; Briege Tuite and Mary Waldron.

Teresa also mentioned our very important Governors who were present: Mary Lee, Julie McIntosh and Governors and Directors Frank Curran and Briege Tuite.

Teresa then delivered the sad news that Alan Joyce would be stepping down as Chairman due to his increasing workload with Qantas and Jetstar.  Qantas will remain as major sponsors and Alan remains an ardent supporter and friend of the Fund.
Treasurer Yvonne Le Bas thanked all our supporters for their hard work and continued support over the past 12 months and extended a very special thank you to Governors and major supporters present.

Yvonne also thanked Australian Ireland Fund Executive Director, Teresa Keating, who makes such a wonderful contribution to the work of the Fund, for her tireless efforts as Executive Director.

Yvonne spoke about a recent survey into around the work of The Australian Ireland Fund and updated those present with The Australian Ireland Fund’s proposed new mission. “The Australian Ireland Fund contributes to worthy Irish causes, with the mission to support dedicated programmes concerning education, community development, peace and reconciliation and arts and culture”.

Yvonne went on to speak about some of the projects supported by The Australian Ireland Fund, including The Forge Integrated Primary School, Glengormley Integrated Primary School, Community Relations in Schools and Habitat for Humanity. All of these projects are committed to providing alternatives to conflict, mistrust and anti-social behavior.

The Australian Ireland Fund has provided support and funding for the establishment of a Chair of Modern Irish Studies at the University of New South Wales.  Yvonne paid particular tribute to the vital role of Mary Lee, who was in attendance, and who has been a driving force behind the establishment of the Chair.

Yvonne spoke of The Australian Ireland Fund Young Leaders Network which continues to go from strength to strength and was well-represented on the day. The latest Young Leader event was an exhibition titled “Celebrating Irish Art in Australia.” All of the art featured was brought over from Ireland. The event was attended by over 150 people and we hope it becomes an annual event.

Guests then watched a DVD of the recent Worldwide Ireland Funds Conference which featured former US President Bill Clinton.
Ambassador Noel White then spoke. He began by thanking guests for their friendship and concern for Ireland and provided an update of the current economic climate in Ireland.

The Luncheon also provided an opportunity to inform supporters of our two upcoming events: The Brisbane Gala Luncheon on 12 August 2012 and the Sydney Garden Party, our flagship event, which takes place on Sunday, 28th October at the beautiful harbourside home of Lady Mary Fairfax AC, OBE.