On Thursday 7th March 2013, Lady Mary Fairfax opened up her magnificent home ‘Fairwater’ to The Australian Ireland Fund. The reception provided an opportunity for us to provide an update to and thank our valued supporters and friends.
Chairman John O’ Neill welcomed guests including Board Members of the Australia Ireland Fund Jane Cosgrove, Tony Harrington, and Treasurer Yvonne le Bas, Prof. Ronan McDonald, Ron Porter, Peter Ryan and Executive Director Teresa Keating. John also thanked and mentioned Governors present on the evening including Peter Cosgrove, Drs. Frank and Ailbhe Cunningham, Tony Harrington, Mary Lee, Kim Maloney, Paul O Brien, Ron and Helen Porter, Peter Ryan, Toni Ryan and Briege Tuite.
John then went on to mention the eight events held in the last twelve months. He spoke about the Yong Leaders Network going from strength to strength since being launched in 2009 acknowledging the many Young Leaders present on the night. John then referred to the $321, 000 donated last year to projects in Ireland for integrated education and community development and the continuation of the Australian Ireland Fund’s support of scholarships for disadvantaged indigenous Australians together with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.
John also revealed that at a recent Board meeting it was agreed to support two flagship projects in Southern Ireland going forward this year;
Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Services which works with children with development delays or disabilities and children with emotional difficulties, children who have witnessed substance misuse, violence and other traumatic events. John cited the significance of Darndale having a project worker or play therapist available immediately on site for any child and how this makes “a tremendous difference with early intervention”
Barnardos Loughlinstown provides an early year’s service offered to children aged 0-7 living in areas of high disadvantage. John remarked that these children are typically referred to Barnardos because there are child protection and welfare concerns, or development delay, speech and language delay, parental addiction, parental mental health and parental discord.
John pointed out that both these projects have had major funding cuts and that with the help of The Australian Ireland Fund they will be able to maintain their level of service and quality. John highlighted that both these organisations ensure that there are no barriers to accessing these critical services and offering the services in a timelier manner. John stated that the speed at which both organisations work in identifying and delivering the support needed is what makes them unique.
John went on to thank the ‘many people in the community’ who supported the Australian Ireland Fund Chair of Modern studies at the University if UNSW in particular he thanked Mary Lee, Professor Ronan McDonald and Director of the Global Irish Studies Centre.
John then took the opportunity to thank all the major sponsors for their support; Alan Joyce and Peter Collins of Qantas, Mercedes, Peter Cosgrove and APN Outdoor, Sean Connolly; KPMG Michael O’ Connell and Caoimhe Toouli, Six Senses, Kristen Bashir; Diageo, Tim Salt; Posh Boutique, Maura Dempsey Inglman, Peter Ryan; Ron Porter; The Star, Stewart Neish; Paul O’ Brien, Eureka Level 89 in Melbourne and Deloitte, David Murray.
Finally the chairman took the opportunity to thank Lady Mary Fairfax AC, OBE again for all that she does for Ireland and the Fund and presented a beautiful bouquet of flowers to Lee Thomas for Lady Fairfax as a token of thanks.