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Dublin Comic Trio Foil, Arms & Hog To Tour Australia

How A Longford Singer Found His Voice In Australia

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My Home, My Castle Sydney Irish Businessman Completes Fairytale Project In Armagh :: Page 3 KING OF THE CASTLE: owner Mick Boyle with key players in the renovation, Jason Foody, Clare Clarke and Gary Flynn.


Australia goes Green place in The Rocks with a parade and a free family concert. It will be the first time in 30 years that The Rocks has played host to the Irish celebrations. The Brisbane St Patrick’s Day Parade, which takes place on Saturday through the streets of the Queensland capital, also marks the 30th anniversary of the rejuvinated event and forms the centrepiece of an impressive calendar of Irish festivities in the city.

In Melbourne, a free family fun day will take place at Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy while a privately run ticketed festival takes place at St Kilda. In Perth, the St Patrick’s Festival will include a parade through the streets of Leeder ville and a family fun day at Leederville Oval on Saturday. Adelaide Oval will play host to that city’s major Irish celebration with a free day of entertainment.

Four-Page St Patrick’s Day What’s On Guide Starting on Page 32

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The Sydney Opera House will be one of a number of Australian buildings illuminated in green light.

TENS of thousands of revellers will celebrate St Patrick’s Day around Australia this weekend with a plethora of special events and celebrations planned for the Irish national day. The Sydney Opera House will be again bathed in green light on Sunday, March 17 as par t of a weekend of festivities in Australia’s largest city. Earlier in the day, the official St Patrick’s Day celebrations will take


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Castle fairytale comes true Billy Cantwell

A SYDNEY Irish businessman has completed a fairytale project in his old hometown. Mick Boyle, who was born in South Armagh, and his wife Robin have restored the 180-year-old Killeavy Castle to its former glory. In doing so, they have also launched a new hotel business, creating 85 jobs in the border region. “Robin and I wanted to change the way people think about South Armagh,” said Mr Boyle, who runs a successful construction business in Sydney. “We want to create a destination venue where tourists and local people can come to and enjoy great dining, access the beautiful mountain walks and feel ver y connected with their natural surroundings. “We want Killeavy Castle to be a world-class destination where people can escape the busyness of modern life and get closer to what’s important.” It was 2013 when Mr Boyle first became aware that Killeavy Castle was on the market. The old building, originally designed in 1836 by architect George Papworth of Dublin, had fallen into disrepair after sitting derelict for more than a decade. The Boyles bought the property for £1.3million in 2013 and set about restoring it. The £12 million renovation involved more than 90 local contractors, from design to construction and landscaping companies, with the exper tise to undertake the extensive renovations with painstaking care and to ensure the 19th century building has been fully restored to its former glory. Killeavy Castle now has four luxury bedrooms, a formal dining room, a cellar bar and private function facilities, all with period features that have undergone significant restoration. Behind the castle there is a permanent marquee for weddings, retreats and corporate events. An underground tunnel once used as a servant’s passageway now links the castle to the newly built 45-bed boutique spa hotel, a Grade 2 listed building that was once a coach house, a mill and farm buildings. Mr Boyle says the renovations will put a modern twist on the traditional charm of the castle. “What makes us unique is our location and heritage. We are situated at the foot of the mighty Slieve Gullion, with unrivalled natural beauty and incredible views. Our heritage and provenance are at the heart of everything we do.

Clare Clarke, relationship manager at First Trust Bank; Mick Boyle, Killeavy Castle Estate owner; Gary Flynn, business acquisition manager at First Trust Bank and Jason Foody, Killeavy Castle general manager.

“Our food will be sourced locally or grown in our walled garden; our 85 staff [mostly] live locally, and we have incorporated the beauty of the countryside into the design and interior of the castle and hotel. We also have a working farm with Cheviot sheep and longhorned cattle.” Asked what the impact of Brexit might have on his new venture, Mr Boyle replied: “I haven’t a clue. I don’t think anyone has a clue.” Mr Boyle and his family are wellknown to the Irish community in Sydney. Mick senior and Pauline Boyle emigrated from south Armagh in the 1960s. Young Mick was just five when the Boyles settled in St Mar y’s in Sydney’s western suburbs. “My father was active for many years in Penrith Gaels and was president for several years at around the time the new club opened up,” he recalls.

In the 1990s, Mick junior set up his company Abergeldie, which provides complex infrastructure like roads, bridges, dams, shafts, tunnels, rail and water infrastructure. The firm now employs more than 500 people and has of fices in Sydney, Melbour ne, Brisbane, Auckland and now, Newry, Co Down. The general manager of Killeavy Castle Estate, Jason Foody, said the new hotel was already attracting business from across Ireland and overseas. “There has been a great demand for our unique facilities, with 50 events already booked in, from fair y-tale wedding ceremonies to glamorous receptions. We have had inquiries from all over the world, with people excited to visit the estate and take in the breath-taking scenery.” Congratulating the owners on the development, Gar y Flynn, business

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acquisition manager at First Trust Bank, which helped finance the project added: “We are incredibly proud to have played a part in the restoration of Killeavy Castle. The exceptional attention to detail at every step of the project has resulted in the creation of one of the most stunning venues on the island of Ireland. “Mick’s passion for South Armagh is infectious. It’s clear he is committed to creating hospitality excellence and showcasing the beauty and charm of the local area on a global stage. “The castle itself still has so many of its quirky period features, sympathetically restored to its former glory. “So often we see investments of this scale taking place in our cities, so it’s great to see such a high-quality development of this kind enhancing our rural communities and is testament to the potential that is there to be harnessed,” Mr Flynn said.


Minister to lead trade mission to Australia IRISH Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, arrives in Australia this week for an eight-day visit exploring new trade, investment and economic opportunities for Ireland. More than 70 Enterprise Ireland supported companies will accompany her on a trade mission, covering Melbour ne, Sydney, Per th and Singapore. Australia and Singapore are seen as key growing markets providing excellent opportunities for Irish companies to diversify their exports and become strategic gateways to the wider AsiaPacific region. The Irish firms, representing sectors including, medical technology, construction technology, financial technology, agricultural technology, ICT and emerging technologies, will participate in 13 business events in Australia in addition to meetings with potential business partners. The minister will also announce the expansion of Enterprise Ireland’s Australian operations, with a new office opening in Melbourne. She will meet senior executive from major Australian corporates including Telstra, Woolwor ths, Optus, ANZ Bank, CBA, Cochlear, BT Financial, NAB Bank, Deloitte, Macquarie Bank, Stone and Chalk, Amazon Web Services and Citibank. Australia is seen as a mature and highly developed economy that offers significant oppor tunity for Irish exporters. Despite the long distance to market, Australia’s open economy, significant infrastructure expenditure and strategic location at the doorstep of Asia has led many Irish companies to enter and perform strongly in the market. Last year Irish companies exported €253 million to Australia, an increase of 43 per cent on 2014. Enterprise Ireland’s ambition is to grow client exports to €360 million by 2020. More than 300 Enterprise Ireland client companies export to Australia and 140 have a direct presence on the ground. Fineos corporation, which provides customer centric core insurance software, is a good example of an Irish company thriving in Australia. Fineos employs 130 people across Australia and New Zealand.

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Great gags with extra craic-ling David Hennessy talks to Sean Finegan of Foil, Arms & Hog as the successful comedy trio prepare for shows in Melbourne and Sydney.

“CAN’T wait, really excited about it.” Sean Finegan of Foil, Arms & Hog says he and his mates are chomping at the bit to bring their sketch comedy show Craic-ling to Australia. “Dying to get out there just to see how the material goes down with a crowd that has been asking us to come for a long time. We’re very excited.” The comedy trio have only performed in Australian once before, at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2017. “We did the fringe there for a month. We were gigging four times a night. Nobody knew us and we lost a fortune but had a brilliant time. That’s the last time we were in Australia. We arrived in the middle of a 40-degree heatwave and it melted us but didn’t deter us from coming back.” FInegan is one third of Foil, Arms & Hog alongside Sean Flanagan and Conor McKenna. The trio write, shoot and edit a new sketch every week to release on Facebook and YouTube. It’s a formula that has given the trio a massive online following and, one suspects, a steady income. For example, their brilliant take on Brexit, with Britain and Europe portrayed as a divorcing couple has clocked up more than 450,000 views. In the stage show Craic-ling the trio conducts a class on how to hold a baby, sings a Gregorian chant about life as a monk and re-enacts the assassination of a classically trained actor. described the show as “an effervescent hour of fast-paced gags, fizzing with energy, invention and great lines”. How would Finegan describe the show for the uninitiated? “It’s sketch comedy. People think certain things when they hear sketch comedy. In Ireland, there’s no sketch comedy scene whatsoever so when we started out; we started doing stand-up sets. There was no opportunity for any lights or sound, it just had to be funny.

PLAYING FOR LAUGHS: Sean Finegan (Foil), Conor McKenna (Arms) and Sean Flanagan (Hog) are friends and all from Rathfarnham, Dublin.

It’s very quick, off the bat. We would go sketch to sketch and we started to interact with the audience. It’s kind of like a blend between stand-up and sketch comedy as most people think of it. There’s no overarching theme. Instead of a random series of jokes, we do a random series of sketches, whatever we think are funny. “People think it’s going to be similar to the online videos but it’s nothing like that. The stuff on stage is way whackier, weirder, much more out there.” Finegan says they have no idea how the gags will go down, Down Under. “We have one sketch where three guys join a monastery, become monks and they become really bored really quickly. “Buckfast is an alcoholic drink made by monks and they find that. I don’t know. How familiar are people in

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Co Antrim native and registered migration agent John McQuaid provides a uniquely Irish perspective on immigration issues. Hi John, I am a permanent resident in Australia for 10 years. We are looking for options for my parents to move to Australia. We have looked at the parent visa but don’t think they qualify because they don’t meet the balance of family test? I’m one of three brothers, the other two are still living in Ireland, though one is thinking of making the move out here. What can we do? TJ

Dear TJ , It seems at the present time your parents don’t currently meet the “the balance of family test” for the permanent parent visa options. This test means that more of your parents’ children must be living in Australia than in any other country. You can access a table to check this out (immi. getting-a-visa/visa-listing/ contributory-parent-143/ balance-of-family-test)

Australia with monasteries? Should we be worried?” How do the trio decides which material is for their online fans (they have 900,000 followers on Facebook) and what will go on stage? “The wordier stuff works really well for video. The stuff that works on stage tends to be the bigger world ideas, like crazy stuff you couldn’t film without a Hollywood budget but, with a blank space, the audience can imagine whatever they want. “The weirder and wilder stuff really bring the crowd into it as well “It might take us a week to work on a video for the internet but it would take us two or three months just to write one sketch for stage, it’s just so much more difficult. The standard is so much higher for stage for what you watch on screen but it’s what we enjoy

doing more even though it’s harder, the rewards are so much bigger.” The trio first came together in 2008 while they were still students at University College Dublin. The name evolved from their respective nicknames. Sean Finegan was the comedy ‘foil’. Conor McKenna was ‘all arms and legs’ and Sean Flanagan ostensibly hogged the limelight. Finegan says he hopes to see a big Irish turnout at the Aussie shows. “We did a gig in London. It was a really big gig for us in the Hammersmith Apollo and a load of Irish living in London came out and it was almost like this reunion party. It turned into this mad Irish night out. It’s like you’re playing in the World Cup and you’ve got a great travelling support.” The last time they were in Australia, an elderly Irishman at one of their

However , there are some alternatives to consider . On March 1, 2019, the immigration minister announced that applications to sponsor a parent for an 870 parent temporary visa will open on April 17. This visa option will not have a balance of family test . Once the sponsors application is approved, your parent(s) will be able to apply for the visa. Applications for the 870 visas are intended to open from July 1, 2019. The visa allows parents to remain in Australia for up to five years at a time without departing. A further five-year visa can be applied for after leaving Australia for at least three months . To be eligible for the visa a parent must be the biological, adoptive, or step-parent of the sponsor, who must be an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident. A cap of 15,000 sponsored parent 870 visas will be granted each year. Expect queues to form very quickly. The fee for the sponsorship application will be $420. The 870 visa application fees are listed at $5,000 for three-year visa or $10,000 for five years The visa fees will be payable in two instalments, one at time of application and the remainder paid before the visa is granted. The 870 visas do not confer work rights . Applicants will be expected to be able to show source of

funds to support themselves and have high-level health insurance. The full rules and regulations have yet to be released. There is also low-cost, longervalidity visitor visa available for parents of Australian permanent residents and citizens. Fees start at $140. These longer visitor visas can only be applied for while you are outside Australia. These 600 visas allow a maximum stay of 12 months in any 18-month period. For instance, if you have just spent 12 months in Australia, you would need to spend at least the next six months outside Australia. Otherwise, Immigration may deem you are trying to take up residence and possibly cancel the visa. If you are not in the parent queue, you can still get a longer stay visitor visa. The duration of the visa will depend on whether you have had a history of travelling to Australia previously and leaving within your visa period. Three-year visas are given to people with a good history of visa compliance. If it’s your first visa to Australia it may only be granted for 18 months. For these longer-term visitor visas you will need high-level private health coverage. Immigration is likely to ask for evidence of insurance.

Adelaide shows was so taken with them, he tried to give them money after the gig. “He had been living in Australia his whole life and after the show he came up to us and put a pile of money into our hands and he says, ‘Thank you so much for reminding me of home; you’ve taken me back’. We were like, ‘What? This is ridiculous for a silly comedy show’. “It’s comedy, there’s no messages involved with it but to create something emotional in someone was really nice.” Foil, Arms & Hog play Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne and the Factory Theatre in Sydney next month. See What’s On for dates.


Editor/Publisher Billy Cantwell Telephone: +61 2 9555 9199 Postal Address: PO Box 256, Balmain, NSW 2041, Australia E-mail (Admin): E-mail (Editorial): Web: The Irish Echo is a national publication published monthly by The Irish Exile P/L Printed by Spot Press Distributed by Network Distribution Services

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Talented Fox more than stayin’ alive Down Under Billy Cantwell BOBBY Fox had to come to Sydney to find his voice. And what a voice. The Longford native is one of four featured singers in the new production of Saturday Night Fever, which opens at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney later this month, the latest entry is his impressive showbiz resume. Fox is now an established star of Australian musical theatre with credits ranging from Jersey Boys to Hot Shoe Shuffle to Spamalot to Assassins. But it was Irish dancing that originally steered him towards a life in showbiz. “All my upbringing was Irish music and Irish dancing,” he tells the Irish Echo at Saturday Night Fever rehearsals in Sydney. “When I first camwe to Australia I wanted to expand my horizons as a dancer but I absolutely needed a break from Irish dancing.” He had performed and toured internationally with Riverdance as well as a number of spin-off shows. “I was a champion dancer up to the time I joined Riverdance in 1998 but that was when I became passionate, that’s when the passion went ‘click’ and I just wanted to perform.” Fox relished his time with Riverdance and describes the ensemble as “the very best”. He went on to join a show called Dancing On Dangerous Ground, in which he performed in London and in New York, at the Radio City Music Hall. He then joined To Dance On The Moon, a smaller Irish dance show. It was this production that first brought him to Australia in 2002. But he knew it was time for a change. “I was doing a performing arts course in Sydney and one of the elements was song ‘prep’. So I had to put a song together and perform it for the class. Everyone around me was saying ‘you have to come back to Australia’.” He says he owes a debt of gratitude to the couple who ran the course, Elena and Mario De Cinque of ED5 International, who helped him apply and ultimately secure his residency. “They researched the visa pathway and gave me the money to pay for it. They just said ‘pay us back when you

have the money’. Three weeks after I got my residency I got a call to say I had a part in the Sydney production of Mamma Mia. As soon as I had my first couple of paychecks I said ‘thanks lads’ and I was on my way.” If Mamma Mia was the springboard, Jersey Boys was the splash hit. The stage musical, which dramatises the remarkable real-life story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, premiered in Sydney in 2010. The show had won Tony and Olivier awards in New York and London as well as a Grammy for best recording of a musical so expectations were high for the Australian production. The Edgeworthstown man’s ability to master Frankie Valli’s trademark falsetto was key to him securing the role and he was given the nod by the singer himself. “I had sung falsetto before but I didn’t think it was that special,” he says. “I could sing before Jersey Boys but Jersey Boys taught me how to sing. I learned how to do it safely, how to clarify it, how to expand the sound, how to take it from just hitting the note nice and sharp to it being something that bellowed through walls.” Fox went on to perform the role almost 1,000 times around Australia leading to other musical theatre roles in Blood Brothers, Oklahoma and the Australian musical Ladies in Black, which toured nationally and for which he received a Green Room Award nomination. In 2017, he performed in Assassins for which he received a Helpmann Award nomination. On screen, Fox’s credits include Upper Middle Bogan, It’s a Date, Tricky Business and House Husbands. He also appeared in the feature film The Cup. He is also one of Australia’s most in demand corporate and event entertainers. He admits to creative restlessness and says likes to expand his musical resume along the way. “I know there’s always something more to me. If I was doing the same thing all the time I would explode.” In Saturday Night Fever, he is one of four star vocalists along with Paulini, Marcia Hines and Nat Conway, perform-

Longford-born Bobby Fox, who first came to Australia in 2002, is now firmly established as a star performer in musical theatre. ing songs like How Deep Is Your Love, Stayin’ Alive and More Than A Woman. His involvement, he says, came about through his girlfriend. “My partner Mel [actress, singer and model Melanie Hawkins] who plays Stephanie, was auditioning for the show so we watched the movie together. That was the first time I had actually seen it. I was obviously familiar with the music and I’m such a big fan of disco. The craftsmanship of the tunes is second to none.” Fox, whose sister Lisa is an

accomplished actor and performer in Ireland, will soon get a chance to channel his Irish heritage in his own show, The Irish Boy, in which he will sing, dance and reveal his other musical skills on the button accordion and the bodhrán. “What I want to do is take the traditional and combine it with what’s happening now. I want to replicate that session feel like when the craic’s on and the tunes are good..” It will also give him a change to dance again. Last year, while perform-

ing Assassins at The Sydney Opera House, he fell on stage during his big number on opening night, breaking his foot. “It will be a year in June since that happened,” he says. “I’m keen to get the feet moving again.” Saturday Night Fever opens at the Lyric Theatre at The Star on March 27. For more details and bookings, visit


Sleeping pill ‘overdose’ led to air-rage Áine Hegarty

AN Irishman who attacked a crew member on a flight back from the Conor McGregor fight in Las Vegas had taken an excessive dose of sleeping tablets, a court has heard. Leroy Thomas Hyland took quadruple the recommended US dosage of a sleeping pill, which he had never previously consumed, during a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney on October 10 last year. The 26-year-old then “woke up in a freaked-out state” and believed that passengers were gang members and had stolen his belongings. Mr Hyland has pleaded guilty to three charges in relation to a disturbance on Delta Airlines flight DL41 from Los Angeles to Sydney on October 10 last year. He pleaded guilty to behaving in an offensive and disorderly manner on an aircraft, common assault and assaulting/threatening with violence/ intimidating aircraft crew. The 26-year-old appeared before

Downing Centre Local Cour t in Sydney on Tuesday March 5 where his lawyer said he took an adverse reaction to sleeping pills taken after “an overseas catch-up trip to Las Vegas to watch the Conor McGregor fight”. Mr Hyland ran out of the usual sleeping tablets he took for long-haul flights and bought sleeping pills that a shop assistant suggested would “really knock him out” for the 14-hour flight from LA to Sydney. He initially took two pills but didn’t feel much effect so he took another two tablets, which is quadruple the recommended US dosage, his lawyer said. He then fell asleep but woke an hour later and “the nightmare” began. Mr Hyland was in a “freaked out state” and believed other passengers were gang members and had robbed his phone, wallet and passport, the court heard. The Irishman had a blanket over his head “to hide from those he believed were targeting him” and a flight

Leroy Hyland caused a disturbance on a Delta Airlines flight from LA to Sydney last October.

attendant said he was “rambling about getting robbed”. He believed the flight attendants were part of the group that had stolen his belongings telling them “You are part of it; you are one of them”. The court heard Mr Hyland was disorientated and told crew members: “Someone is tr ying to steal my identity. I don’t know who to trust.”

Mr Hyland’s lawyer said he was frightened by the situation in which he found himself and at one stage shouted: ‘Help, help’ in a thick Irish accent which may not have been understood. A doctor’s report tendered to court concluded that Mr Hyland’s behaviour could have been caused by taking an excessive number of sleeping tablets. After the incident on-board, Mr Hyland was restrained for the remaining 10 hours of the flight and arrested when the plane landed at Sydney Airpor t where he “appeared ver y confused” and didn’t seem to remember what had happened on the flight. His girlfriend was concerned and took him to hospital that night and the court heard he “wasn’t right until 7am the next day.” Mr Hyland’s lawyer told the court the 26-year-old works 60 hours a week as a sheet metal worker and the act was “so out of left field, there’s a low to zero risk of him reoffending.” “This man is worthy of a second

chance, his solicitor said, and asked the court not to jail him. “He made a mistake and it’s not going to happen again,” he added. He said it had always been Mr Hyland’s dream to live and work in Australia and he hoped to apply for permanent residency in the future and a criminal conviction put this dream at risk. The acting magistrate said she accepted that Mr Hyland was otherwise of good character and “didn’t take the tablets with the view that this would occur”. But she found the offences were very serious and asked for a sentencing report to be prepared before she passes sentence. The case was adjourned until April 16 to allow for the preparation of this report. Mr Hyland was supported in court by his brother who travelled from Ireland to attend the hearing. His employer, his partner and a close friend all provided character references to the court.


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Panti Bliss leads Irish revelry at Mardi Gras

DOZENS of revellers donned pink and green as part of the Queer Irish entry for this year’s gay and lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney. This year, the group celebrated “a history of fearlessness in the Irish people that has led us to a more inclusive Ireland”, Sydney Queer Irish president Loretta Cosgrove said. “It was a long day starting at noon at the Gaelic Club to get our marchers glittered and into costume for some final rehearsals,” Cosgrove said. “For the 80 marchers, the night of Mardi Gras is the cumulation of four weeks of build up and excitement taking part in rehearsals and getting together to make their props and bedazzle their costumes. For the SQI committee members its been months of work behind the scenes. Many Irish folks bring their skills to SQI so we can pull off such great night. This year we had Aaron Corcoran as lead choreographer and Regina Cremin-Scanell as our glitter and makeup artist.” Bright, life sized lantern puppets representing the four provinces of Ireland joined SQI marchers in neon green and pink for the parade in an entry they dubbed Solas, the Irish word for light, which symbolised “Irish peoples’ fearlessness and courage to make positive change”. The so-called “Queen of Ireland” Panti Bliss added some celebrity sparkle to the Irish entry. “The crowd had a big reaction to us and especially loved Panti Bliss who interacted with the crowd in a huge way this year,” Cosgrove said. “We are very proud of all our members who took part and are incredibly grateful to the Irish Consulate in Sydney who have been a huge support to our community group.” Established in 2010, Sydney Queer Irish (SQI) is an organisation that supports the Irish and Irish Australian LGBTI community through a variety of events and support networks.

Two Irishmen charged with attempted murder over Melbourne shooting

Mark Dixon and Jack Harvey are charged with attempted murder.

QUEEN OF GREEN: Celebrity Irish drag artist Panti Bliss (aka Rory O’Neill) put on her best green frock and mingled with Sydney Queer Irish participants and wowed the crowd at the Mardi Gras parade earlier this month.

TWO Irish nationals have been charged with attempted murder following a shooting in the Melbourne suburb of Point Cook. Warrants were issued for the arrest of Mark Dixon (30), whom police allege sometimes goes by the surname Murphy, and Jack Harvey (26). After a two-day manhunt, the men were arrested in the NSW town of Broken Head over the shooting of 53-yearold real estate agent Sid Morgan at a Spraypoint Drive home about 11pm on February 21. Mr Morgan, a former police detective, was allegedly shot in the face and remains in a critical condition in hospital. Dixon and Harvey faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday March 4, each charged with attempted murder. A prosecutor told the court police wanted 10 weeks to put together their brief of evidence against the men, rather than the usual six weeks, The Age reported. Mr Morgan’s prospects for recovery are unclear and, as a result, the final charges the pair may face are yet to be determined. It is alleged the two men fled Victoria and went to NSW after the shooting. Magistrate Duncan Reynolds granted the usual six weeks to compile a brief and said police could come back to court for an extension if more time was needed beyond April 15. Dixon and Harvey did not apply for bail and are expected back in court on May 27.


Hong Kong route ‘a game changer’ Billy Cantwell

EXPATS and tourists travelling between Australia and Ireland are now spoiled for choice as competition ramps up on the lucrative route. Cathay Pacific is the latest carrier to of fer direct flights from Asia into Dublin, joining Etihad, Emirates and Qatar in an increasingly crowded market. Cathay Pacific flies to Dublin four times a week on the state-of-the-art A350 aircraft and the new route has been hailed as a great success by the airline and tourism chiefs. “We’re delighted that Ireland’s first and only non-stop flight to Hong Kong has been well-received by our customers,” Cathay Pacific general manager Europe James Ginns said. “Our team is thrilled to be able have a role in fostering bilateral tourism and economic growth between Ireland and Asia. “We feel confident that this new route will continue to bring more convenience and choice to the Irish

Cathay Pacific cabin crew Christine Wang and Winnie Phan with James Ginns, Regional General Manager Europe, Cathay Pacific, and Vincent Harrison, Managing Director, Dublin Airport.

public and optimise opportunities for Irish businesses.” Tourism chiefs in Ireland have also hailed the route as a game changer. “China is the largest outbound travel market in the world and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to

growing over the coming years,” Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said. “In 2017, we welcomed an estimated 70,000 Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland; the introduction of the new direct flight from Hong Kong is a major game-changer and

offers a real opportunity for us to build on this number. We are confident that we are in a strong position to grow this emerging travel market … over the coming years.” In the Irish summer months, the flight departs Dublin at 11.55am, arriv-

ing in Hong Kong at 07.05am. The return flight departs Hong Kong at 12.50am, arriving in Dublin at 06.45am. In the Irish winter months, the flight will depart Dublin at 11am, arriving in Hong Kong at 7.30am. The return flight will depart Hong Kong at 12.15am and arrive in Dublin at 05.30am. Connection options to and from Australia are considerable with direct flights to Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. A brief stopover in Hong Kong can mean a ‘door-to-door’ travel time of less than 23 hours from Dublin to Sydney when travelling east. The Airbus A350-900, which services the Dublin-Hong Kong route, carries a total of 280 passengers, 38 in business class, 28 in premium economy and 214 in economy. The Hong Kong-Dublin route is proving very popular with expats and tourists alike, Australia-based Irish travel agents. say. Repor ts out of Dublin have also suggested that Singapore Airlines is looking at launching a direct flight into Dublin starting in 2020.


St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I



St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I



Poignant Irish doco is a century in the making David Hennessy AN Irish documentary that has attracted critical and popular acclaim in Ireland and internationally is coming to Australia. Older Than Ireland features interviews with 30 Irish people aged 100, older than the state itself. The documentary offers a portrait of Ireland right from the dawn of independence through to the modern day through the eyes of those who have lived through it all. Although the subjects might be ordinary people, their stories are not ordinary. At different times poignant, sad or funny, Older Than Ireland is the creation of Alex Fegan, the acclaimed director of The Irish Pub, a eulogy to Ireland’s renowned institution. Film Journal International summed up the film thus: “This documentary about centenarians weaves together oral histories to create a moving portrayal of living at the outer edge of mortality—the subjects are Irish, but the subject is life itself.” RTE gave it five stars, commenting: “If you’re not moved by this film, you’re not human.” Fegan told The Irish Echo: “We knew that if we didn’t capture these stories, we would never get that opportunity again.” The film features Luke Dolan and Kathleen Snavely, Ireland’s oldest man and woman: “Shortly after we filmed them, they both passed away so from that point of view, it was a privilege to have been able to capture them. I was completely amazed because I had a perception of people over 100 and that completely changed while making the film. “I had this idea that they would say: ‘Back in my day, life was way better’. Most of the centenarians felt that living today was much better than it was when they were growing up. Obviously,

there was a lot of poverty. A lot of them went to school with no shoes on. One man, John Mitchell from Roscommon, told us that he was often hungry going to school and to see peace time Ireland is a wonderful thing to see. “Things we take for granted, like electricity, didn’t exist for a lot of the centenarians. One lady said when they got electricity, they could see the dust in the house for the first time. They went, ‘Oh my God’. “I also had this idea that they would be very conservative. There was a question one of the centenarians raised about gay people living together and she said, ‘Well look, if they love each other, that’s no problem’. “That was just something she brought up. We didn’t even ask her that. It was something we just didn’t expect. Their ideas on religion and all those things weren’t static from when they were young, they evolved much like the country itself.” Many of the centenarians had powerful memories of historic events from Ireland’s past and were there at some of the most key milestones. “They all had memories of the Black and Tans, every one of them. One man, Jimmy Barry from Waterford, remembered the Black and Tans coming into Croke Park in 1920 [on Bloody Sunday]. He was there; he was the last Irish citizen who was actually there. He remembered it vividly; he remembered the machine guns going off and all the chaos afterwards. “Bessie Nolan remembers the Customs House on fire very clearly in 1921. Doris Findlater’s father was in the British army and he actually took the surrender from Padraig Pearse. She remembers climbing up a clock tower and looking out at the fires rising above the city. “John Mitchell remembers the Black and Tans shooting cattle, actually driving down the road, firing at cattle and

Jackie Sullivan, 103, at his home in Killarney during the making of Older Than Ireland. (Below) Bessie Nolan, 103, from Drimnagh, enjoying a smoke during her interview. Pictures: Alex Fegan killing them. Sister Eileen Doyle from Limerick was a first cousin of Kevin Barry. She remembers the moment when they came in and told her that he was hanged. “In many ways they were our living history; it’s just incredible to get those views. Jackie O’ Sullivan from Kerry actually met Michael Collins before his assassination and he also met Eamon De Valera when he was a boy. Michael Collins gave him a coin which he remembered until he passed away the year before last. Amazing stories.” Exploring their own individual stories, the film tells a very relatable and universal human story. “It looks at their personal history as well: school days; their first kiss; going to a dance; what was it like when

their husband proposed to them or vice versa; what their wedding day was like. The film goes through their personal social history. “It becomes not just about Ireland but this universal story of getting old, what it is like to lose your friends or what it is like to be the last of your generation and also their thoughts on the afterlife as they approach the end of their lives. The hope is that you don’t have to be from Ireland, you can completely relate to these characters as human beings.”

Older Than Ireland plays at selected cinemas around Australia, opening next week.


Plenty to pour over in stout history

SERIOUS RESEARCH: Rod Smith, who wrote Guinness Down Under, doing some sampling, for his book, at the Storehouse in Dublin.

PLENTY of Guinness will be consumed in Australia over the coming week but it may come as a surprise to devotees of the ‘black stuff’ that the Irish brew first came to Australia 172 years ago. Kiwi researcher Rod Smith, who wrote a book on the subject – Guinness Down Under – reveals that the first advertised shipment of Guinness to Australia arrived in Perth in November 1836; and the first consignment ar rived in Sydney in July 1848. Towar ds the end of the 1800s Australian consumption of Guinness accounted for one third of the company’s exports. The main bottling and exporting company in Ireland was Edward and John Burke Ltd, established by two grandsons of Ar thur Guinness himself, the founder of the brewery. Their business in Australia lasted from 1863 to 1923. At that point Guinness came through numerous state agents until the early 1960s when impor ting was rationalised to five agents. This lasted until local brewing commenced in Adelaide in 1964. Four companies have held a licence to brew Guinness in Australia: South Australian Brewing in Adelaide 196474; Tooheys in Sydney 1974-87;

Carlton United in Ballarat and Yatala 1987-2012; and Lion in Adelaide from 2012. On St Patrick’s Day in 1978, Tooheys launched draught Guinness in Sydney, a world first for the brand outside of Ireland and Britain. At a small trial launch a month earlier there was a problem with filling kegs and the pour was flat. The Guinness manager wanted to abandon the launch but two punters who had travelled from Darwin to the Orient Hotel in George St, Sydney, told him the brew tasted just fine and to keep it coming. A solution to the problem was put in place in time for the formal launch on St Patrick’s Day. A brother of the aforementioned Burkes, Arthur Benjamin Burke, was trained at the Guinness brewery in Dublin in the 1840s but dismissed for drunkenness. He came to Melbourne in 1853, changed his name to Arthur Guinness Burke and set up as the first overseas Guinness brewer. His brothers in Ireland were appalled and placed advertisements in Melbourne newspapers advising that the true Guinness was available only from their accredited agents. Guinness had continuing problems in Australia, and other overseas mar-

kets, with the Burke brothers highlighting their name on the labels and billboards, virtually to the exclusion of the Guinness name. The other main issue for the company was copycat brewing using a product that ostensibly tasted like Guinness stout, bottled and sold with counterfeit labels. Guinness showed its staying qualities in 1899 when a ship named The Sepia foundered off Carnac Island near Fremantle. A consignment of 1000 cases of Guinness stayed in the wreck for six months before being salvaged. Taken ashore and opened, the product was deemed first class and later sold at full price. Guinness has even contributed to the V ictorian racing industr y. Melbourne trainer Tony Lopes had a mare Chicquitta who ran eight wins in a row in 1949 and came second in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in 1950. Lopes wrote to Guinness to advise that the famous stout’s tonic qualities worked well for Chicquitta. Lopes found that a daily drink of Guinness – by tube direct into her stomach – led to an immediate and sustained recovery from colic. Guinness Down Under can be ordered at bookshops or through online booksellers.



St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I



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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I




AN Irish tourist arrested with 10 MDMA capsules at a music festival in Sydney on Sunday has faced court. David Crean, 32, was one of 10 people arrested for drug supply at the Ultra Music festival in Parramatta. He was charged with supplying a prohibited drug after a sniffer dog sat down next to him when he entered Parramatta Park at about 1.45pm, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Mr Crean, who was reportedly on a two-week holiday to Australia, escaped conviction after he argued the party dr ug is “not strong enough” in Australia and all of the pills were for his personal use. According to police evidence tendered in court, Mr Crean was “nervous” and “visibly shaking” when he was spoken to by police, and when an officer asked “be honest, do you have any drugs on you?”, he admitted he had drugs in his underwear. Police uncovered a plastic resealable bag filled with coffee grounds and 10 capsules of MDMA during a search in a private tent. Mr Crean told police he “did not intend on selling the capsules and planned on consuming all of them himself as the purity of MDMA in Australia is not strong enough”, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Greg McElherron has brought a range of new Irish beer and spirit brands to Australia.

Tourist faces court over ecstasy bust Mr Crean’s lawyer told Parramatta Local Court her client was willing to plead guilty to drug supply to get the matter dealt with quickly so he could return overseas. Magistrate Richard Funston did not record a conviction because of the small amount involved and Mr Crean’s lack of a criminal record. He told the tourist he could have died if he took the capsules. “It’s an incredibly foolish thing to do and obviously – I say it for the purpose of the court as well – people die of drug overdoses,” Mr Funston said, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. During the event, which attracted more than 20,500 people, 395 person searches were conducted, with 98 drug detections made during the operation for cannabis, cocaine, and MDMA.

Uncorking demand for new Irish brands JUST more than five years ago, Newry man Greg McElherron arrived in Australia with a mission to bring some of the amazing Irish craft beers and spirits to his adpted home. McElherron had cut his teeth in the Irish drinks industry by introducing brands such as Budvar and Erdinger. A participant in the inaugural Bord Bia Fellowship programme in 2009, the Down man was based in Warsaw for a year developing export strategies for

Irish companies trying to make inroads into Eastern European markets. Then in January 2018 he set up Rhizome Beverages and is the Australian importer for brands like O’Hara’s (Ireland’s No 1 craft beer brand) and the critically acclaimed Eight Degrees Brewing Co. Rhizome also looks after sales and distribution for Dingle Gin in New South Wales and Victoria. Dingle Gin was recently hailed the world’s best at the ‘World Gin Awards’

in London. McElherron says Ireland is a veritable Silicon Valley when it comes craft brewing and distilling. Many of these new brands are now attracting international recognition. “For anyone who would like to discover the flavour of Irish craft beers Dan Murphy’s will be stocking O’Hara’s award-winning Irish stout and Irish Red ale over St Patrick’s Day,” McElherron told the Irish Echo. “They may look at giving them a full-time listing.”


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Heartbreaking farewell for young Mayo woman AMY Gill (23) from Coolacht, Co Mayo arrived in Australia on January 14. On Febr uar y 6, she was a back seat passenger in a car with four occupants that collided with another vehicle in the small town of Euston near the New South Wales/Victoria border. Ms Gill and her friends were on their way to work when the accident took place. Ms Gill (right) and another backseat passenger lost their lives. Her friend Catherine Langan from Bohola, Co Mayo was injured in the crash but is expected to make a full recovery, the Mayo News reports. The tragedy led to a massive online fundraising campaign to cover repatriation expenses for Ms Gill’s remains. Although the initial target was only €15,000, nearly three times that amount was raised – €44,461 before the family stopped donations on February 11. A large congregation attended her funeral Mass at St Colman’s Church in Claremorris. Parish priest Fr Peter Gannon, said it was a very difficult time for the community. “Words can never relay the depth of grief of the family and friends and community,” Fr Gannon said, the Mayo News reported. “Not alone is there a numb feeling but there can also be a feeling of being cheated and being robbed of a beautiful life. On behalf of us all we express our deepest sympathy to family relatives, neighbours and friends,” he said. “Amy was a beautiful girl in every respect of that word. Her life, far too shor t, gave pleasure and brought blessings to so many people, most especially her parents John and Ann

and all the family. Tragic death is like a black-out, one minute the sun is shining and the next it is dark night. In the space of a minute our whole words can be turned upside down. Nothing can prepare us for something like this,” Fr Gannon t o l d t h e congregation. Colin Bell of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust told The Irish Echo: “Whenever tragedy hits like that and the word comes back to the families, who do they turn to? “They don’t know what they’re going to do and how they’re going to get the loved one home. One phone call to us can change all that. There are so many young people out in Australia at the moment and accidents do happen and unfortunately, it can happen to anybody. It’s tragic. “Tragedy is tragedy no matter where it happens but, when it happens on the other side of the world, you’re pretty helpless here at home and that is where we can come in and help.” The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, established in 2013, has now repatriated the remains of 659 loved ones to Ireland from all over the world, including 72 from Australia. For more information, search for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.


St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I






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Emotional ‘reunion’ at Magdalene memorial THE grandson of a woman incarcerated in one of Ireland’s notorious Magdalene laundries has spoken of his family’s pride as he attended an emotional commemoration. Frank Brehany, from Wales, discovered his family’s “deep secret” after promising his late father he would find his mother. Mr Brehany’s grandmother Mary spent many years in High Park laundry in Dublin. From the 18th century right up to the mid-1990s, tens of thousands of women were put to work in laundries run by Catholic orders of nuns. Unmarried mothers and girls from troubled backgrounds suffered years of abuse inside the grim facilities. Last week, Mr Brehany was at a memorial event in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin to commemorate the women who died inside the laundries’ walls. There, he embraced 88-year-old Mary Merritt, who credits his grandmother with looking after her during her 14 years in the laundry. “I am deeply moved and privileged to be standing here in the company of

giants,” Mr Brehany said. “My journey started in 2010 to uncover the secret, the deep secret of my family. Before my father died I promised I would find his family, that I would find his mother. “The other part of that promise is I would find justice for my family, justice for Mary. I am luckier than most. My father had a birth certificate and, as a result of that, I have not only found my family history going back to the late 1700s, but I have surviving family in the Ireland, in Northern Ireland, in London, in Connecticut, in Chicago. “We are united as a family again and we are proud, we are not ashamed, we are not hiding away Mary’s past. She did no wrong, my father did no wrong. “She was a Magdalene woman, he was a Magdalene child.” Ms Merritt gave thanks that Ireland had been transformed since the dark days of the laundries. “I am 88 years of age now and I hope to be able to come every year until I am 100 to pay my respects to the Magdalene women because I love each and every one of them. It’s a great day for Ireland that it’s all changed.”



David Young

Former SDLP leader to run for Fine Gael Rebecca Black and Aoife Moore A FORMER Northern Ireland statesman has said he hopes to give the region a voice in Europe after Brexit by running for election in the Republic. Mark Durkan, a former deputy first minister, has been confirmed as a Fine Gael election candidate for the European elections in May. The former SDLP leader will run as a candidate alongside former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald in the constituency of Dublin for the party that forms the major part of Ireland’s minority government. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said his decision to invite Mr Durkan to run as a candidate was for the political future of the island. “We are living in extraordinary times,” Mr Varadkar said. “We need in the European Parliament people of ability, experience and vision. We need people who can speak and work for the people of the whole island, for Ireland, not just their constituency. “At this point in time, as Brexit continues to present enormous challenges, we need a place to hear people like Mark Durkan and that place is in the European Parliament. “Instead of a border poll, I’m asking the people of Dublin to cast a more important vote. I don’t want the people of Northern Ireland to have no voice or representation in Europe, I don’t want them ever left behind again.” Mr Durkan led the SDLP from 2001 to 2010, taking on the mantle from Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume. The 58-year-old briefly served as Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister alongside the Ulster Unionist Party’s first minister David Trimble. Now he said he wants to be part of a “strong team Ireland that stands for decency”. “Given my own deep involvement in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement, I would really welcome the opportunity to contribute in that context in the European Parliament.”

Mary Merritt, 88, a former resident of the High Park laundry in Dublin, weeps at the memorial to the Magdelene women and children who died in the grim religious homes. Picture: Niall Carson

Violence epidemic ‘must stop’ Cate McCurry

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has said there is an epidemic of violence against women in Ireland. His comments come as the country formally ratified the Istanbul Convention, which works towards preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Following a special cabinet meeting to mark International Women’s Day, Mr Varadkar said the Government agreed on a number of measures to promote greater gender equality. “There is an epidemic of violence against women, it needs to stop,” he added. “We know the names of many of the women who have had violence perpetrated against them and the ratification of the Istanbul Convention today is a very important part of that.” He added that the ratification of the Bill is an important step to combat violence against women. The Istanbul Convention was adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011. It is an international legal instrument that requires governments to fully address

the issue of violence against women, to protect women and to prosecute perpetrators. Formal ratification took place at a ceremony at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on International Women’s Day, making Ireland the 34th Council of Europe member state of 47 to ratify the Convention. Mr Varadkar was joined by a number of ministers at The Academy in Dublin for the event. The Academy building was the location of a public meeting on September 5 1911, when the Irish Women Wo r k e r s ’ U n i o n w a s f o u n d e d . Constance Markievicz was among those to address the meeting. Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the Act puts the victim centre stage. “Protecting and suppor ting victims has been a key priority for this government. Domestic and sexual violence can have devastating consequences for victims as well as society as a whole,” he added. “Ratifying the convention delivers on a government commitment and sends an impor tant message that Ireland does not tolerate such vio-

Taoiseach Leo Varakar and supporters of the Istanbul Convention on International Women’s Day in Dublin.

lence. That message is all the more appropriate given that today is International Women’s Day.” Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) Orla O’Connor said: “We are here today because of the campaigning from women’s groups, sur vivors and organisations campaigning to end violence against women. “Today, it is important to give a

special thank you to women who showed such bravery in speaking out about their experiences of domestic and sexual violence and abuse, and their experiences of being re-victimised in family and criminal courts. The Istanbul Convention provides the framework that we need to protect women and children and to work towards eliminating violence.” Dublin Rape Crisis Centre also welcomed the ratification. Its CEO Noeline Blackwell said: “Today’s ratification will be the end of the journey of preparation and the beginning of a journey of implementation of the steps required by the convention, which is the first legally binding treaty identifying violence against women as both a human rights violation and as downright discrimination.” The Cabinet also agreed to the text of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, which will require new employers of more than 250 employees to complete and publish a wage survey. The Taoiseach said it would help reduce the pay gap that exists between men and women.


Most Irish women have no private pension: survey

Michelle Devane

MORE than 60 per cent of Irish women do not have a private pension, a new study has found. Men are more proactive and confident about their retirement income than women, the research carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of Aviva shows. Almost half of the men polled said they had a pension, compared with 37 per cent of women. One in four women surveyed said a pension was something they were unlikely to ever do. Aviva said the results show a pension

pay gap of 10 per cent, which could point to a future of financial disempowerment amongst future female retirees. More than 1,000 people were interviewed nationwide for the study. Of those without a pension, a third said they had not thought about what income they will survive on when they retire. When asked about security of their future retirement income, almost two-thirds of men indicated a higher level of confidence compared to 40% of women, suggesting greater levels of concern amongst females when it comes to pension provisions. “Having conducted this same survey

for the last four years we have found that, worryingly, pension coverage for women has remained stagnant at 37 per cent since 2014,” the head of individual life and pensions at Aviva, Ann O’Keeffe, said. “While the participation rates for both genders are far too low, the case for women is par ticularly concerning.” The results showed an age disparity as well as a gender one. Young workers between the ages of 25 and 34 were found to be the least likely to have a pension (30 per cent) compared to 35-44 year-olds (54 per cent) and

45-55-year-olds (43 per cent). Ms O’Keeffe said the results suggested a pension was not a focus for most people in their 20s and 30s. “Of those under 35 without a pension, almost two in three say they simply have never thought about it,” Ms O’Keeffe said. While it is understandable that retirement provisions might be the last thing on people’s minds, particularly for younger people, in actual fact it’s one of the most important financial decisions a person can make during their working life.” Unlike Australia, there is no compulsory superannuation in Ireland.


St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I

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Shake-up for Irish schools Aoife Moore

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has launched a new action plan for education, promoting female participation and diversity. The Empowering through Learning initiative sets out more than 280 actions for this year including a strategy for foreign languages, promoting Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) and female participation in the field, and school patronage diversity. Other priorities include teacher supply, Irish-medium education, and a renewed focus on apprenticeships and traineeships. “Approximately one in four people in Ireland are students – children, teenagers, adults, people from all backgrounds,” Mr Varadkar said. “An investment in education is an investment in them. It’s an investment in the future and in all of us.” At the launch, Mr Varadkar was asked about concerns raised by geography teachers in a recent open letter after the subject was dropped as a core subject in the Junior Cert cycle. “More broadly, what we’re trying to do by modernising and reforming the Junior Cert and Senior Cert cycle is to move away from traditional subjects to a system of long courses and short courses, for subjects like well-being or

climate change, for example. I appreciate the request and I get the demand very often, to make 20 or 30 subjects compulsory, and add in new ones all the time, but we have to bear in mind overloading the curriculum, and having so many subjects would be counterproductive.” A review is under way regarding restoring history as a core subject after it was dropped in September. Meanwhile, a new teacher-sharing scheme aimed at alleviating some of the recruitment issues facing schools has been announced. Education Minister Joe McHugh urged school principals to sign up to the new scheme, which will allow post-primary schools to share teachers in priority subjects. The initiative will start from the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic school year and will be reviewed after the first year of operation. “The aim of this scheme is to alleviate some of the challenges schools have faced in recruiting teachers. This new approach to filling posts is a solution for principals who are seeking teachers and graduates who are looking for full-time employment and more work options,” Mr McHugh said. “Addressing the current and future challenges in teacher supply is a national priority.”

Producers in their Element over success

Olivia Colman with her Oscar and (inset) Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan, who was nominated for his work on The Favourite.

IRISH film production company Element Pictures celebrated the Oscars success of Olivia Colman who won Best Actress for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite. Speaking about the win, Element’s Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe released a statement, in which they said: “We are so delighted for Olivia, such a richly deserved award! “The love for the film, from audiences and critics alike worldwide, has been gratifying and we are indebted to [director] Yorgos Lanthimos for making a film we can all be so proud of. Long live the Queen!” In receiving 10 nominations, The Favourite is the most nominated Irish film in Oscar histor y. The film also stars Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone and marks the third collaboration between Element Pictur es and Lanthimos after award-winning films The Lobster and The Killing Of A Sacred Deer starring Australia’s Nicole Kidman. The Favourite was shot by Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan, who was nominated for an Oscar, and was partly post produced in Dublin. It was written by Deborah Davis and Australian Tony McNamara. The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, said: “Irish presence at Oscars 2019 is a testament to the talent in our film industry which richly deserves recognition on the world stage.”

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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I



St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I




Something in the heir, is it Brexititis? Call for protests along the

border the day after Brexit

Catherine Wylie PRINCE Charles has said he has faith the friendship between Ireland and the UK will endure for generations as he vowed to visit all 32 counties on the island. Charles made the remarks in a speech, which featured a few words of the Irish language, in front of stars including Kenneth Branagh at the Embassy of Ireland in London. Along with his wife Camilla, the heir to the English throne sat down for an early St Patrick’s Day dinner with guests such as the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, comedian Dara O Briain and actors Fiona Shaw and Adrian Dunbar. The prince’s words at the celebration of UK and Irish relations are likely to be interpreted by commentators as partly referring to the importance of the relationship between the two countries amid the challenges presented by Brexit. Prince Charles, who has visited Ireland every year since 2014, said: “With threads drawn from every part of Ireland, and from every walk of life, those who traversed the Irish Sea, who stitched together the fabrics of our societies and made us all the stronger for it. “From Kintyre to Kilburn, the influence of the Irish diaspora on the arts, culture, business, academia, fashion and sport here in the United Kingdom has been as profound as it is immeasurable. Ireland also offers its traditional hundred thousand welcomes – céad míle fáilte – to so many British people who have made their home across the water or who travel there to experience the warmth and beauty of your country. Above all we are friends, we are partners and we are the closest of near neighbours, bound together by everything that we have in common. “If I may say so ... this is precisely why it has been of such importance to both my wife and myself that we too should visit Ireland so often over these past few years – to experience and celebrate as best we can the unparalleled bonds between our two countries and to highlight just what a fundamental difference they make to us all. And I must say I’m slightly amazed to find that we’ve managed to visit 15 counties already. “I am quite determined before I drop dead and finally lose my marbles that

Rebecca Black

Kenneth Branagh and Dara O’Briain at the Embassy of Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day Dinner in London. (Inset) Prince Charles delivers his speech. I should get around to the remaining 17. And so, as our relationship evolves over the coming months and years, I have both the faith and the hope that the essential friendship between the people of Ireland and the people of the United Kingdom will not only endure but will renew itself for generations to come. “So I would like to propose a toast to the President of Ireland, and the people of Ireland, and to the special bond between our countries.” He finished his toast by wishing everyone a happy St Patrick’s Day in Irish.

Mr Coveney said it was a privilege to celebrate the British-Irish relationship approaching St Patrick’s Day “at a pretty serious time for everybody”. “All of us ... understand that it’s not a time of entirely plain sailing in this relationship. The decision by this great country to leave the European Union has ... given rise to issues of genuine concern and uncertainty in terms of what it means for our future together.” Mr Coveney said it was important to celebrate the “extraordinarily vibrant and overwhelmingly positive connections” between the UK and Ireland.

A GROUP of residents have called for mass demonstrations along the Irish border the day after Brexit. Border Communities Against Brexit, suppor ted by pro-Remain political parties, unveiled a new billboard at Stormont announcing the planned day of protest as the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union. Politicians from Northern Ireland’s main pro-Remain parties also turned out for the event, including representatives from Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Alliance Party. Border Communities Against Brexit group spokesman Declan Fearon announced several locations for the border demonstrations on March 30, including at border crossing points in Co Down, Co Fermanagh, Co Tyrone and in Derry. He said their purpose in coming together is to ensure there is no return to a hard border. “From 2016, when a clear majority in the nor th [of Ireland] voted to remain within the European Union, border communities have lobbied extensively in Dublin, London and Brussels and, indeed, here at home,” he said. “We have organised large-scale protests on the border itself. [This] has helped give a voice to local people who are very frustrated and feel disenfranchised by the Brexit process. “March 29 is the date by which the Tory Government is due to take Britain and indeed ourselves here in the North out of the European Union. “While there has been much talk about delays and extensions of the withdrawal date, the political machinations at Westminster have completely ignored the views, needs, fears and desires of the people here in Ireland, in particular those living in the border region who will be so adversely affected by Brexit. “Brexit and a hard border have the potential to cause devastation to our economy, our industries, jobs and especially to the farming sector; to the free movement of people crossing the border every day in our communities to work, study or to trade. “Border Communities Against Brexit remain focused on ensuring that Irish voices from the border area

Damian McGenity of Border Communities Against Brexit.

continue to be heard in the crucial days and weeks ahead. “To that end we have organised a significant people’s demonstration against Brexit at various points along the border for Saturday March 30. “These mobilisations will take place at the Old Dublin Road in Kilcarn, on the old Newr y to Dundalk road, at Belcoo/Blacklion, Moybridge and Aughnacloy, Lifford and Strabane and Coshquin in Derry. “We are asking ever yone living along the border on either side to make an effort to attend your nearest demonstration. We are calling all trade unions, all representative groups, civic leaders and citizens to join with us and demonstrate our anger at being taken out of the European Union.” Meanwhile, at a similar protest at Leinster House in Dublin spokesman Damian McGenity, who lives a mile from the border in Co Armagh, said: “We’re at the coalface on Brexit in border communities, whether you live on the northern or southern side, and we need political parties here to be steadfast, and stay the course we’re on and stay behind the backstop. “A border would be catastrophic. For us to travel around just where we live, we cross the border several times a day. A lot of our life is in the South. My children go to Dundalk for football training; one set of their grandparents lives in the South. It would have a huge impact on their lives.”


‘No-deal’ a big deal for Irish jobs Like the EU? Yep, we’re positive IRISH people have the most positive image of the European Union, a survey of member states has found. The annual Eurobarometer also shows that people in Ireland are the most satisfied with how democracy works in the EU and are the most optimistic about the bloc’s future. The report, issued by the European Commission Representation in Ireland, claims that 66 per cent of Irish people say they feel attached to the EU, the highest proportion since May 2007. “The report captures Ireland’s strong support for the European Union,” the head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland, Gerry Kiely, said. “This is fully reciprocated, as is evident from the European Union’s unwavering support for Irish interests in the Brexit negotiations.” At 76 per cent, Ireland has the highest proportion of people in any member state feeling that their interests are well taken account of in the EU. This is an increase of 17 points in the past two years. This score represents the highest proportion of Irish citizens feeling this way since this data was first collected in 2007. Some two-thirds of Irish people have a positive image of the EU, which is the highest level of positivity recorded in Ireland since 2008, and the highest figure for any member state.

Michelle Devane

MORE than 50,000 Irish jobs could be at risk in a disorderly Brexit, a parliamentary committee has heard. The Central Bank of Ireland estimated that in a no-deal scenario, economic growth was likely to be 3.2 per cent lower than forecast and that it would result in 50,000 fewer jobs. Central Bank economics and statistics director Mark Cassidy said a disorderly Brexit would result in significant additional costs for the Irish economy, which would have “immediately damaging consequences” for the country’s trade prospects. “It is clear that a no-deal scenario would have very severe and immediate disruptive effects on almost all areas of economic activity,” he said. Dr Cassidy appeared before an Irish parliamentary committee to discuss the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit on the country’s economy.

He told members of the Budgetary Oversight committee that there would still be “some positive growth” in output this year and next year, even if a deal cannot be reached between the UK and the EU, but he said it would be lower than forecast at about 1 per cent. In the event of an agreement being reached between the UK and the EU which resulted in free trade between the economies, Dr Cassidy told the committee: “The long-term impact on output would be 1.7 per cent lower than under a scenario where Brexit had not taken place and employment would be 19,000 persons fewer than under a no-Brexit scenario.” But in the event of a no-deal scenario the “impact on output over the longer term is that output would be 3.2 per cent lower than under a no-Brexit scenario and about 50,000 fewer jobs”. Asked by Independent TD Tommy Broughan whether the Central Bank was being “too sanguine” about its

scenarios, Dr Cassidy said that there was “inherent uncertainty” over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. “We’re projecting that economic growth over the two years combined, rather than being something above 8 per cent, would instead be something close to 2 per cent, so 6 percentage points [or] three-quar ters of the growth taken off the economy in the first two years, which is a major impact,” he said. “I would certainly hope that we’re not underplaying the extent of the estimate.” Dr Cassidy said the Central Bank’s estimates were more adverse than those projected by the Department of Finance for first year post-Brexit. He added that the UK’s withdrawal would be a “shock” that would permeate almost all areas of economic activity and that border regions and farming, agriculture and food producing sectors were most at risk of being disproportionately affected.



St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I

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Businesses in rush to finalise Brexit strategy BUSINESS demand for Brexit planning vouchers has increased massively in recent months in Ireland as the date for the UK leaving the EU looms closer. More than a third of all applications were made in the past few months for the voucher, which was launched in 2017. It comes as the Irish government launched a number of other schemes to help businesses prepare for Brexit. InterTradeIreland has unveiled new funding and online learning for businesses. Minister for business Heather Humphreys, who will represent the government in Australia on St Patrick’s Day, announced details of the package of support, which includes two new vouchers. The first provides up to €2,250 towards professional advice to help businesses understand what exposure they have in relation to Brexit. This includes issues such as customs requirements and supply chain exposure, VAT and financial implications, as well as complex tariff codes. The second voucher – the new Brexit Implementation voucher – provides

financial support up to €5,625, with InterTradeIreland paying 50 per cent. This will make businesses better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship. Ms Humphreys called on businesses to act now to prepare for Brexit and warned against complacency. “These innovative, accessible tools and associated funding will help businesses deal with the complexities surrounding Brexit. We all know that Brexit has created real commercial and political uncertainty,” she said. InterTradeIreland has also developed an online tool designed to help crossborder traders understand customs requirements. Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland designated officer, said: “We recognise the acute challenges they face as they come to terms with Brexit in the face of many other competitive challenges. “As we move closer to the March 29 deadline, the message is that it’s still not too late to make preparations. “We are focused on helping as many SMEs as possible to prepare for whatever way Brexit ultimately evolves,” Mr Gough added.



Cate McCurry

Motorists facing post Brexit travel restrictions

Aoife Moore

PEOPLE in border communities fear having their cars impounded while driving into Northern Ireland after Brexit, the Dáil has heard. The Taoiseach was pressed by Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty, who said there is mass confusion across the island over what paperwork will be necessary to travel unencumbered. It is understood a green card will be issued for motorists if there is a nodeal Brexit to prove their insurance policy is valid in Northern Ireland and the Republic. “Many people are incredibly angry,” Mr Doherty said. “There’s a lack of certainty over how the green card position will operate. “My own insurance company say they will start to issue them after March 29, but what will happen to motorists on March 30, who will not have a green card and our cars can be impounded if we travel to the North? “There’s a huge amount of anger in communities that they will now need to hold an international insurance certificate to travel across the Lifford Bridge into Strabane, for example.” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the government was working to resolve the issue, and would allow a grace period for motorists. “We’re aware of and trying to ensure it’s resolved before March 29, the position is different in the two jurisdictions,” he said. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) said that if there is a no-deal Brexit, green cards will still be required for any drivers with a Republic of Ireland registered vehicle planning on driving in Nor ther n Ireland or elsewhere in the UK.

Aidan Gough, designated officer at InterTradeIreland; Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business; Margaret Hearty, director of programmes and business services and Ken Nelson, InterTradeIreland chairman. Picture: John Murphy

‘Tories don’t care’ about NI Cate McCurry

NORTHERN Ireland-born comedian Patrick Kielty has claimed that a hard Brexit will guarantee a border poll. The comedian, 48, said the only two options to resolve the border issue post-Brexit are custom checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic, or in the Irish Sea. Kielty, whose father Jack was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) in 1988, said that either option would cause divisions. He hit out at Brexiteers saying that if they had an alternative option, they would have agreed to a backstop, a mechanism in the W ithdrawal Agreement that ensures the border remains open. “The fact that they won’t bet on themselves tells you all you need to know about what they have in the locker,” he wrote in The Guardian. “When Conservatives say they care about Northern Ireland, they actually just mean the freehold. Like a stable

block with planning permission, they know the extra square footage adds value but they’ve no intention of actually developing it. “Just as long as they can see it from the big house they’re happy. As for those who live in the stable? If Brexit has proved anything, it’s that many Tories don’t give a stuff about the people of Northern Ireland; not even the unionists. If they did, they wouldn’t dream of a hard Brexit because it only guarantees one thing: a border poll.” The father-of-two, who is from Dundrum, Co Down, said a border poll would be decided by nationalists and ‘pro-European unionists’. He added that an “inevitable” economic downtur n and “border circus” of a hard Brexit could swing floating voters and lead to a united Ireland. “So, why would any member of the Conservative and Unionist party take that risk? Because no matter what they say in public, they’ve never honestly believed Belfast is just like Finchley [Margaret Thatcher’s old

Patrick Kielty, whose father Jack was shot dead by loyalists, says Brexit could lead to a united Ireland.

seat in London],” he added. “On the one side is May’s deal (complete with backstop). On the other is the ERG (European Research Group) and a

hard Brexit. If the DUP buckles on the backstop, party members will walk away with their UK sovereignty between their legs. For those of us who have their early albums, this isn’t going to happen,” he added. “Which leaves just one option. The DUP holds firm and jumps off the cliff with the ERG, knowing a hard Brexit is the only scenario that guarantees a hard border in Ireland, a border poll in Northern Ireland and the perfect economic storm where it could lose that vote. “By trying to be the most British person in the room, the DUP could actually end up the most Irish.” He added that another referendum on EU membership is the only way to save peace and a continued shared future in Northern Ireland. “It’s wrong that Northern Ireland should take one for the team so that others can have their version of Brexit. It’s now time to act, or Nor thern Ireland might decide the team is no longer worth playing for.”


Taoiseach still optimistic as Brexit clock counts down Rebecca Black

THE Taoiseach believes it is unlikely that the United Kingdom will crash out of the European Union without a deal. Leo Varadkar was speaking in Belfast after meeting Nor ther n Ireland’s business leaders for discussions which he described as being about Brexit and developing stronger economic links across the border. The government is making preparations for a no-deal Brexit, but he told media that he believes there will either be a deal or an extension to the negotiations. “I think that the United Kingdom crashing out of the European Union

without a deal on March 29 is unlikely. I think that we either will have a deal or we will have an extension but, as is always the case, we have to work hard to achieve that withdrawal agreement, to get it ratified and also prepare for the worst-case scenario in case that arises,” Mr Varadkar said. Refer ring to the Conser vative Party’s confidence and supply deal with the Democratic Unionists, Mr Varadkar said he feels it has created a “new dynamic” in politics. “My view, as the head of the Irish government, is that we should try to be honest brokers and be impartial when it comes to dealing with the different political parties in Northern

Ireland, to work with everyone and also to listen to all sides,” he said. “I think that the fact the DUP confidence and supply deal has created a new dynamic, whether it is true or not, some people certainly perceive that it means that the British Government listens more to the DUP than to other parties,” he said. “We see, for example, that Fianna Fáil has decided to create a similar par tnership with the SDLP, which could create a similar dynamic were they to re-enter government south of the border. My view is that we should try to speak to all parties, be an honest broker, but I particularly want to reach out to the centre ground, people in

politics and those not in politics who share a vision as to how we can work together, put the past behind us and build a much better future.” Speaking earlier in the Dáil, the Taoiseach urged businesses to step up their contingency plans ahead of a possible no-deal Brexit. Mr Varadkar said there would be a certain level of disruption caused by the UK’s exit from the EU but that the government was doing all it could to minimise it. “I urge businesses to utilise the supports available,” Mr Varadkar said: “Brexit of any kind means change for the worse and no country can befully prepared for no deal.


St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I


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Victims’ anger over Bradley gaffe David Young

The Secretary of State returned to the Commons in a bid to clarify the comments and, a day later, issued a statement of apology, saying she was “profoundly sorry”. Ms Bradley said there were “no excuses” for what she said. She also rejected the suggestion she was out of her depth in the role. “I am determined to prove myself by delivering for the people of Northern Ireland,” she said. “It is an enormous honour to be Secretar y of State for Northern Ireland, it’s an enormous honour to serve the people of Northern Ireland and Government, and it is something I really want to deliver on.” “I shouldn’t have said it and I want to say sorr y to all those people, all those families that have been kind enough to share their experiences with me,” Ms Bradley said. “I want to say sorry to them because I didn’t want to cause hurt or pain or distress to them in any way, and what

I want to do is deliver for them, and I am absolutely determined I will do. “I recognise that a slip of the tongue at the wrong moment has caused enormous distress. I want to be very clear: I do not believe what I said, that is not my view. “I believe that where crimes have happened, no matter who the perpetrator, they should be properly investigated by an independent authority and they should be prosecuted. “There is no excuse for anybody where a crime has been committed.” Responding to victims’ calls for her to quit, Ms Bradley said: “I want to work to rebuild their trust. I said something I shouldn’t have done. I will apologise and continue to apologise. “I want to rebuild their trust by delivering for them; delivering a new legacy system that they can have confidence in; delivering something allows Northern Ireland to try and heal some of those very deep wounds.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley. “I do not believe what I said; that is not my view.”

KAREN Bradley has pledged to rebuild the trust of victims angered by her comments on state killings in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Secretary has declared that she would not be resigning over the gaffe, vowing to work to deliver for people she had offended. “I want to get on and get this job done,” she said. Downing Street has said Prime Minister Theresa May retains full confidence in her. Ms Bradley has faced calls to quit, from victims of state violence and several political parties in Northern Ireland, following remarks in the House of Commons when she said killings carried out by the police and military during the Troubles were not crimes, rather actions of people “fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way”.



Ms Bradley said she would meet victims in a bid to reassure them of her intention to deliver on stalled mechanisms to address the legacy of Northern Ireland’s toxic past. She said she also wanted to work to regain the trust of parties such as Sinn Féin and the SDLP, which have both called for her resignation. Families bereaved in shootings involving the British Army in Ballymurphy in Belfast in 1971 branded Mrs Bradley’s apology too little, too late. Briege Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was one of those shot dead, said: “I think she is a disgrace. She should hang her head in shame and leave.” John Teggart, whose father Danny was shot 14 times, said Mrs Bradley had caused “deep hurt”. The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Ms Bradley’s original comments were insensitive and wr ong but the Taoiseach stopped short of calling for her resignation.


Wanted man can appeal extradition

Police ‘farce’ slammed by journalists

Cate McCurry

Rebecca Black

JOHN Downey has been granted leave to appeal against the decision to extradite him to Northern Ireland. The 67-year-old, whose trial for the IRA’s Hyde Park bombing collapsed in controversy five years ago, is wanted by prosecutors in Northern Ireland over the murders of two Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in 1972. Downey was arrested at his home in Creeslough, Co Donegal, last October under a European arrest warrant after authorities in Northern Ireland determined they had sufficient evidence to charge him with the murders of Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston, 32, and Private James Eames, 33. The soldiers died in a car bomb attack in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, in August 1972. Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said last week that she granted the appeal to test whether it is an abuse of process to return him to Northern Ireland. In 2013, Downey (above) was charged with murdering four Royal Household Cavalrymen in a bomb in London’s Hyde Park in 1982. He was tried at the Old Bailey in 2014 but the case dramatically collapsed after it was revealed he had received a written assurance from former prime minister Tony Blair’s government that he was not actively wanted by the authorities. The letter was allegedly issued under the terms of the controversial On The Runs (OTRs) scheme. The High Court previously heard claims Mr Downey’s fingerprints were found on adhesive tape on a battery pack used in the Enniskillen attack. The court was told the tape was lost for some two years. It was also alleged police in the UK attempted to fabricate photo-fit evidence using a picture taken from Downey’s house. Garnet Orange SC, for Downey, previously told the court there were “credible attempts” to “fabricate visual identification evidence” in relation to the 1982 offences.”

AN attempt by police to gag two prominent Belfast journalists has failed, their lawyers have said. Award-winning reporters Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey presented themselves to Musgrave police station for scheduled questioning last week. They were interviewed separately by police. It comes six months after Mr McCaffrey and Mr Birney were arrested over the alleged theft of confidential material from the offices of Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Dr Michael Maguire. The material relates to a police investigation into the murder of six men in Loughinisland. A police press release issued at the time stated the investigation was triggered when the ombudsman reported the theft to police. That claim has since been directly contradicted by the ombudsman’s office itself. However, Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable George Hamilton told the Policing Board in February that he wants to “bust the myth that there was no statement of complaint”. Mr Birney and Mr McCaffrey produced a documentary about the 1994 Loughinisland killings, which were carried out by loyalist terrorists. The No Stone Unturned film examined claims of state collusion in the murders. Speaking after meeting police last week, Mr Birney’s solicitor Niall Murphy said they consider the case to be a “farce”. “[It’s] six months to the day since Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey were arrested in a police operation arising out of what we consider to be a malicious investigation in relation to the documentary No Stone Unturned,” he said. “Six months on we are no further on, and police [have now] applied for an additional bail condition which would seek to restrict both Trevor and Barry from making public comment in relation to this case. That application was farcical, preposterous and robustly challenged. The application was ultimately refused ... and they have been bailed now for a further six months so that would be a total of one year on police bail for a case that doesn’t exist.”

Derry Girls cast members Siobhan McSweeney and Nicola Coughlan (right) join MPs and women impacted by Northern Ireland’s strict abortion laws at a protest on Westminster Bridge. Picture: Jonathan Brady

Derry Girls stars join abortion protest Caitlin Doherty TWO stars of Channel 4’s Derry Girls have demanded the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland as they delivered a 60,000-strong petition to Secretary of State Karen Bradley. Nicola Coughlan, who plays Clare Devlin, and Siobhan McSweeney, who plays Sister Michael, joined 26 other women in the march at Westminster last week. The 28 women – symbolising the number who travel from Northern Ireland to other parts of the UK each week for an abortion – all carried the names of 62,000 petition signatories in suitcases. The campaign, organised by Amnesty UK, calls on the UK Government to intervene and change the law in Northern Ireland in the absence of ministers at Stormont. An abortion is only permitted in Northern Ireland if a woman’s life is at risk or if there is a risk of permanent and serious damage to her physical and mental health. The 1967 Abortion Act that governs

the rest of the UK was not extended to Northern Ireland. Coughlan, originally from Galway, paid tribute to the support for the Repeal the Eighth movement to decriminalise abortion in the Republic from across the border. “Women are being treated like criminals in their own country. I’ve had friends who have had to make this journey; it feels very personal as well. “The people of Northern Ireland have been so good to us. We’re just lending our voice. We’re just trying to draw attention to this issue because nobody wants to deal with it.” McSweeney, from Cork, dismissed suggestions the issue should be resolved in Stormont, adding: “It’s a human rights issue. The legislation in Northern Ireland is some of the toughest in the world, and Westminster have a duty of care.” Also among the protesters were a number of MPs, including shadow Northern Ireland minister Karin Smyth, who called abortion restrictions in Northern Ireland unacceptable. “In England, women have had this

right for 50 years, and somehow we think it’s acceptable that [some] women don’t have the same human rights as us,” she said. “Women are being squeezed between this argument about devolution and human rights.” Calling Northern Ireland’s abortion rights “a stain on the UK’s democracy”, Hannah Bardell, SNP MP for Livingston, added: “Women in Northern Ireland are having their human rights routinely ignored. The fact we have women in the United Kingdom unable to access basic healthcare is an absolute scandal.” Also at the Northern Ireland Office were anti-abortion Both Lives Matter, which claims an extra 100,000 people are alive as a result of Northern Ireland’s laws. Clare McCarthy, of Both Lives Matter, believes any decision on Northern Ireland’s abortion legislation must respect the Good Friday Agreement. “Whatever decisions on abortion in Northern Ireland are made, it is vital in respect of democracy and of the Good Friday Agreement that they are made by Northern Ireland and by the Northern Irish people.”


St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I


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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I



O’Brien loses court cases

Denis O’Brien suffered two legal defeats in the space of four days.

BILLIONAIRE businessman Denis O’Brien has suffered a double defeat in the courts and faces massive legal costs as a result. First, he lost his High Court defamation action against the Sunday Business Post. Then the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal over statements made in the Dáil about his banking affairs back in 2015. In the defamation case, Mr O’Brien sued Post Publications over articles in March 2015 in which he was named as among the 22 biggest borrowers from Irish banks in 2008. Their focus was a confidential PricewaterhouseCoopers report given to the government in November 2008 which looked at the exposure of Ireland’s banks. Journalist Tom Lyons got a copy of the report in early 2015 and shredded it after the ar ticles appeared, to protect the source. Mr O’Brien had claimed the articles, including some headlined “22 men and



Enda Kenny ‘offered to help’ on EU data laws

€26 billion” and “The Gang of 22” wrongly meant he was among a “gang” of 22 borrowers responsible for the destruction of the Irish banking system, defaming him and injuring his reputation. He also sought punitive damages against the newspaper. The jury found the articles did not mean that Mr O’Brien, as one of 22 borrowers, was among those most to blame for the destruction of the Irish banking system and the subsequent bail-out and was not a recipient of cheap and easy money in some way related to improper influence with bankers, politicians and civil servants. They also found the articles did not mean that, as a result of what was said about Mr O’Brien’s borrowings, the PwC report was one which he wished to keep secret or top secret and had been suppressed. They found the articles meant the story of Mr O’Brien’s borrowings was telling and disturbing but that they were not defamatory.

On March 5, the Supreme Court dismissed Mr O’Brien’s appeal over statements made in the Dáil about his banking affairs. The court, sitting in Galway, delivered its unanimous judgment on Mr O’Brien’s appeal against the High Court. The High Court action arose from statements made by Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty in the Dáil during a debate in 2015. The statements were made after Mr O’Brien was granted an injunction against RTE in April 2015, which prevented it from broadcasting details about his banking affairs. Welcoming the decision, Mr Doherty said it is a “good day” for parliamentary democracy. “I shudder to think if both these judgments had gone the other direction,” he said. “One of the key things that has come out of this is that parliamentary privilege is sacrosanct and cannot be adjudicated by the courts.”

THERE has been a significant increase in the number of deaths on Irish roads in 2019. Some 34 people have died on Irish roads so far this year, and 25 of those have either been a driver or passenger. The figure is up by nine, an increase of 30 per cent, from this time last year, with drivers and passengers accounting for nearly three quarters of all road fatalities. One in three people killed in 2018 were not wearing a seatbelt and early investigations indicate the trend is continuing into 2019. Gardai have said the upward trend must be addressed immediately and have appealed to road users to re-double their safety efforts.

Minister’s concern over scouts group SCOUTING Ireland has come under the spotlight again as Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone said a report has highlighted serious concerns about child protection procedures. Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has recommended a review which would examine the supervision of children. Scouting Ireland is facing a major investigation into past cases of alleged child sex abuse. An ongoing internal review has so far identified 313 alleged victims and 237 alleged abusers.

Taoiseach calls out Vinnies report TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has challenged a report that shows that the number of working single-parent families living in poverty has doubled in five years. The report by the Society of St Vincent de Paul found that in 2012 one in 11 working lone parents was living below the poverty line. This number rose to one in five in 2017. The Fine Gael leader said that statistics from the Central Statistics Office show that consistent poverty and deprivation among lone parents had reduced in the last four years. “I don’t think it (report) tells the full picture. “It fell to 23.1 per cent in 2014, a slight increase to 23.9 per cent after that, 23.2 per cent after that and 20.7 per cent in 2017, so the figures we have are down on 2013. That demonstrates that the policies we have been implementing, helping people get back to work, improving welfare, reducing the cost of childcare, are working.”

Cate McCurry and Aoife Moore TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has sought to play down claims that his predecessor Enda Kenny offered to help Facebook influence EU data protection laws. A Facebook document claims that Mr Kenny offered to help the social media giant influence other EU member states on EU data legislation. According to the Observer newspaper, the former taoiseach (pictured) offered to use Ireland’s position in Europe to lobby on the company’s behalf. The memo, which described Mr Kenny as a “Facebook friend”, was reportedly part of court documents in a California court case involving Facebook. Mr Varadkar said the Government’s relationship with Facebook was no different to any other large firm. “I think you can judge us in our actions in that regard when the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was introduced and in full,” he said. “We totally beefed up the role of the Data Protection Commissioner when Enda Kenny took over as Taoiseach. It was a small, under-resourced office headquartered over a Spar and he really took that on and expanded it. “They have confirmed that they never received any lobbying on behalf of Facebook or any other company by Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.” Claims that Mr Kenny, who was Taoiseach from 2011 to 2017, sought to influence the regulation of data protection rules have also been rejected by Facebook. “Like the other documents that were cherrypicked and released in violation of a court order last year, these by design tell one side of a story and omit important context,” the company said. “These documents have been sealed by a Californian court so we’re not able to discuss them in detail.”

Sharp increase in road death numbers

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney at the launch of Better World, the government’s new policy for international development.

This is ‘a measure of who we want to be’ Michelle Devane IRELAND has pledged to double its foreign aid funding to more than €2 billion by 2030. The announcement was made by the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste at the launch of A Better World, the Government’s new policy for international development, at an event in University College Dublin. The Government plans to increase international aid to 0.7 per cent of gross national income by 2030. Ireland current spends more than €800 million per annum on foreign aid. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the new policy was an “eloquent statement” of what the Government wants to achieve in the area of international development in the 21st century. He said he was very conscious that, before the economic crisis, Ireland was moving towards reaching the 0.7 per cent goal but it had dropped to about

0.3 per cent since then. “We’ve a long distance to go yet but we’re determined to do it and reach that target by 2030,” he said. Mr Varadkar added: “At its heart is a focused pledge in relation to the sustainable development goals to leave nobody behind and reach the furthest behind first.” The funds will go towards issues such as gender equality, climate action and governance. The new plan aims to builds on Government’s Global Ireland initiative to double the scope and impact of Ireland’s global footprint by 2025. Tanaiste Simon Coveney said the new plans were about making the world a better place to live. “At a time of change and uncertainty it’s important that Ireland plays its part not only at home but also abroad,” he said. Mr Coveney said the government did

not make the commitment lightly and that it would involve difficult choices for future governments. “The financial commitment effectively is to take our development aid from just over €800 million a year to well over €2 billion a year over the next 10 years,” he said. “For me this is part of a measure of who we should be and who we want to be as a global citizen. “It’s a real commitment that involves choices and indeed sacrifices of what otherwise could be achieve by this money at home should we chose not to spend it abroad.” Sweden is consitently the most generous country for foreign aid, donating 1.4 per cent of its Gross National Income in 2016, the OECD reports. Ireland donated 0.36 per cent that year while Australia contributed 0.27 per cent. The UK donated 0.71 per cent of its GNI in 2016.

Footballer appeals sex crime verdict A SENTENCE appeal hearing for an Irish League footballer who was handed a four-month prison sentence for distributing an indecent image of a minor has been adjourned. Cliftonville striker Jay Donnelly, 23, was found guilty of distributing a photo of him having sex with a 16-year-old girl while she wore his team shirt. During a sentencing hearing in January District Judge Amanda Henderson said she found that the only appropriate sentence was an immediate custodial sentence, and sentenced Donnelly to four months. He was granted bail pending an appeal against the sentence. The case was briefly raised at Belfast Magistrate’s Court last week. However, it was adjourned on request by Donnelly’s defence team until April 5 pending a medical report. Cliftonville Football Club dropped Donnelly as a player in November after he was convicted of the charge.



St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I


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Find your closest pint.


St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I


Mal Rogers scans Ireland’s regional media for what’s making news in your county LIMERICK


Mother’s home torched in row over cash

Anti-abortion vandals deface Longford GP Clinic

A YOUNG man who set fire to his mother’s council-owned home in Limerick after she refused to give him money has been jailed for three years. The Limerick Leader reports that Lorenzo Morey (20) of no fixed abode, had pleaded guilty to a charge of arson. Garda Conor Cronin told Limerick Circuit Court it had been established that Mr Morey had been involved in a row with his mother after she refused him money from her handbag. The defendant, the court heard, then smashed a number of windows before setting fire to rubbish in the hallway of the house. The fire quickly spread; Limerick City and County Council estimates the total damage at between €50,000 and €75,000. Judge Tom O’Donnell was told the property is not habitable and that Mr Morey’s mother and other members of his family have since been rehoused by the local authority. Imposing sentence, Judge O’Donnell said the deliberate nature of the offence and the amount of damage caused were aggravating factors as was the fact that Mr Morey was on bail in relation to separate matters at the time. He imposed a three year prison sentence.

ANTI-ABORTION activists are believed to have been behind graffiti daubed on the front of Longford Medical Centre and the offices of a longserving general practitioner, reports the Longford Leader. Gardaí carried out an investigation of the scene with a number of witness statements being taken over the incident. No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.


Search on for Private Ryan’s relatives after chance find A CHARITY shop is saving Private Ryan’s medals for his relatives after a chance discovery made in an old jacket handed into it. The medals belonging to a Private Patrick Ryan were found in a coat handed in to the shop, reports the Irish Examiner. The West Cork charity shop has mounted a campaign to reunite the medals with Private Ryan’s descendants. They believe the First World War veteran may have come from Co. Tipperary. Ed Smith, treasurer at the Kealkil Charity Shop near Bantry, said the jacket had been handed in with a bundle of old clothes. The medals were found in a pocket. Mr Smith knew that Skibbereen Heritage Centre had been involved in tracing similar First World War medals to their rightful descendants and the hunt was on. Research revealed that Private Ryan was a volunteer who is likely to have joined up in 1914. He was a member of the 1st Battalion of the Munster Fusiliers and is likely to have been evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt in January 1916. His service record shows he survived the war and received an honourable discharge but subsequently re-enlisted.


Defendant believed paramedic was an intruder A LISTOWEL man who attacked a paramedic attempting to help his brother believed he was an intruder and punched him into the mouth, Listowel District Court has been told. The Kerryman reports that David Costello was up on a charge of assault at his home. Gardaí had been called to assist paramedics because the defendant was “agitated, highly volatile and aggressive” in the house while paramedics were attempting to treat his brother. A struggle ensued and pepper spray was used on Mr Costello to calm the situation down. The paramedic suffered bruising. Judge David Waters said that he has strong feelings on the assault of emergency personnel as they are not trained to deal with aggression. The judge said that his “gut reaction” was to put Costello in jail, but that he was going to give him the benefit of a suspended sentence first. The court heard that Mr Costello has 14 previous convictions. He gave Mr Costello a five-month suspended sentence, adding: “He doesn’t seem to be a man that wants to help himself.” ANTRIM

Man has leg amputated in Thailand THE parents of a Ballymena man whose leg has been amputated in Thailand have thanked all those who have offered support. The Ballymena Guardian reports that Mike Johnston (30) was involved in a motorbike accident last month. He had travelled to Thailand to begin work as an English teacher. His parents Michael and Jillian Johnston flew to Asia to be with their son. Michael Johnston said that although his son was “in a lot of pain and under the influence of pain relief and other meds he is a little bit better. “We still have a long way to go on the path to rehab and recovery but it all starts from here. “Getting Mike home is our first priority and I will keep everyone

SNOW GO-SLOW: Traffic inches ahead carefully in snowy conditions on the N7 in Dublin after Storm Freya dumped snow and brought freezing temperatures to parts of Ireland, causing travel disruption. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire updated as this plan progresses over the coming days.” GALWAY

Charity believes Fields of Athenry should be fenced ATHENRY Oranmore councillors have called for fencing along a segment of the N84 in Co Galway. The motion was put forward by Councillor James Charity at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore municipal district council, following numerous collisions with horses along the road over the past 18 months. Cllr Charity said the fencing was urgently required, the Connacht Tribune reports. The Independent councillor proposed that the funding be allocated under the roads budget for Athenry/Oranmore immediately and that reimbursement be sought from agencies such as Transport Infrastructure Ireland. Director of Services, Jim Cullen said the construction of the fencing could set a precedent and said the council could not carry out all the proposals in the motion. WATERFORD

‘Holy Show’ receives 5000 complaints A SHOW by Waterford entertainer Bonnie Boux (aka Sinead Gould) called “Making a Show of Yourself”, which is scheduled to take place in The Reg on May 12, has received almost 5000 complaints from Catholics and Catholic groups. The Waterford News and Star reports that the show is a mixture of theatre, comedy, music and dance It tells the story of Father Enda and Sister Sheila, excommunicated from the Church, but who still want to preach the word of God – in their own way. Both Bonnie and The Reg have received thousands of emails about the show and an online petition demanding for it to be cancelled currently has 4585 signatures. One such complaint states “It is with great consternation we learn of your plan to stage this vile and blasphemous play in Dublin and Waterford. Of course this is outrageous and offensive to the true Catholic faith and morals and will lead many souls to hell. But as for those who promote such vileness against Almighty God, His Son Jesus Christ our Redeemer and Our Most Blessed Lady, well hell will not be hot or deep enough for them. I therefore in Christian charity for the sake of

your souls beg you to withdraw immediately form this satanic attack on the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Speaking to the Waterford News & Star, Boux said she was shocked to see the complaints flooding in. “It started with just one email and we dismissed it, as you would, because that person was obviously never going to come and see the show,” she said. “But then they started coming in their thousands, so it was clear that this was an organised effort to get the show cancelled.” Boux says that the show, which she describes as a “disco, comedy cabaret Mass”, is not an attack on the Catholic faith but a light-hearted poke at the religion that we are all brought up in. One of the emails, which was sent to Reg manager Donal O’Brien, pleaded for it to be cancelled stating: “From the description of the event, it appears that consecrated hosts will be distributed at this event in mockery of Catholics’ belief in transubstantiation. Whatever any of the comedians, organisers, attendees, or you may believe, this is a sacrilege.” BELFAST

Ballymurphy soldier warned me to stay off streets, man tells inquest A MAN caught up in the Ballymurphy massacre has told a Belfast inquest into the Ballymurphy Massacre he was warned by a paratrooper before the shootings. The Belfast Telegraph reports that Michael O’Hara gave evidence that as he walked home from Turf Lodge at around 3pm on the afternoon of August 9, 1971 the soldier told him: “Michael, stay off the streets tonight.” The paratrooper, named before the inquest as ‘Drew’, had been married to a friend’s sister and had previously been a guest at Mr O’Hara’s house. “I didn’t respond,” Mr O’Hara told the inquest. “I didn’t want to be seen talking to a paratrooper.” He also explained how, on hearing of attacks on homes in Springfield Park in west Belfast that evening, he had gone to help residents evacuate. He talked about his last meeting with his aunt, Joan Connolly. “I was heading home when she was walking towards us. She told us she was looking for her children. She gave me a little smile and that’s my last memory of her,” he said. Mrs Connolly, a 45-year-old mother-of-eight, was killed later that evening. “She was not carrying any

weapons. She did not have a guard of honour at her funeral. There were no messages of sympathy from any organisations. She was not an IRA woman,” he added. Earlier, a Ballymurphy community worker recalled how the blood of a local priest ran down his arms as he helped remove his body from the scene. Fr Hugh Mullan (38) died alongside 19-year-old Frank Quinn on wasteland at Finlays Field. Brian McLaughlin (74) was keyholder at Ballymurphy and New Barnsley Community Centre, which operated as a refuge for residents on the evening. Mr McLaughlin recalled that the bodies of Fr Mullan and Mr Quinn were brought to the centre by a student doctor. Mr McLaughlin said he had carried the body of Fr Mullan away to minimise the trauma to those receiving treatment. Ten people were shot over three days in Ballymurphy in the days following the introduction of internment. The inquest continues. CORK

New Cork bridge to be named after ‘Irish Schindler’ Mary Elmes CORK’S newest bridge is to be named after Mary Elmes, dubbed Ireland’s Oskar Schindler, following public involvement in the process. The Irish Examiner reports that city councillors voted 17-12 to name the proposed €3.5m pedestrian and cycling bridge over the north channel of the River Lee after Ms Elmes, who is credited with saving the lives of hundreds of Jewish children during the Holocaust. Born in Cork in 1908 and raised in Ballintemple on the southside of the city, Ms Elmes, helped an estimated 200 children escape almost certain death in concentration camps by hiding them in the boot of her car. She was one of five historic figures shortlisted following an invitation from the city council to the public to suggest names. It is the first time this process has been used to name a piece of public infrastructure. A total of 92 submissions were received and a long-list of 35 names emerged, with suggestions including Rory Gallagher Bridge, Merchant’s Bridge, The Provisional Republic Army Crossing, The Rebel’s Bridge, Share Bridge, The Corkonians Bridge, Legends Bridge, the Myrtle Allen Bridge, and Boole Bridge.


St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I




St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I

Audacity abounds

THIS may be John Boyne’s best book. Considering that he has a backlog of outstanding fiction – The Absolutist, A History of Loneliness, The House of Special Purpose and most recently The Heart’s Invisible Furies – that is no small call. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is probably his best known and most popular, but this book deserves to be just as successful. It is a story about ambition, the ‘ladder to the sky’ of the title. The central character is Maurice Swift, a man prepared from his teenage years to do anything to be a success as a writer. His problem was that while he wrote well, he seemed to be incapable of creating or inventing his own stories; he had literary skill but no imagination. We meet him first when he is

befriended by Erich, an older writer/academic whose dormant erotic appetites he rouses, something of which he is aware and which he uses to draw from the older man a story from the early days of Hitler’s war. The story forms the basis for a successful novel by Maurice, but opens his erstwhile mentor to ridicule, exile and lonely death. He goes on to cultivate other successful men, all known to be homosexual, using them to gain introductions to publishers or literary agents. He is successful with one of them but fails in his attempt to share a bed with Gore Vidal at the latter’s residence in Amalfi. Finally, he steals a story written by his wife of five years and passes it off as his own, again to success. It is only when he begins to boast to a young man who says that he wants to write a thesis about him that his overweening vanity and egotism lead him into confessing how his successes were achieved and who his victims were. The story is spread over some 30 years or more and the book is in three sections: the first in the voice of Erich; the second in that of his wife and the final in Maurice’s own voice. There are times when the reader will need to suspend disbelief: can sex really lead to such stupidity; can a man be so blinded by search for success that he would end up serving out his final years in a penitentiary, convicted of murder? But the writing is so convincing, the pace so breakneck and the reader in such keen anticipation of Maurice’s ultimate downfall that

“The Boy in the Striped

Pyjamas is probably his best known and most popular, but this book deserves to be just as successful.

BOOKS A LADDER TO THE SKY By John Boyne Penguin 355 pp $32.99

CCCCC THE VOGUE By Eoin McNamee faber & faber 266 pp $29.99

CCCCC Frank O’Shea all scepticism is suspended and the reader is drawn into a world seldom sighted by outsiders. There is the suspicion also that this may be an extended peek into the world populated by writers and publishers and if that is indeed the case, then it is a place to be earnestly avoided. THE Vogue is a cinema in a place called Morne, probably in Northern Ireland, where American airmen are stationed in late 1944. One of these is a Negro who is accused of killing a young girl, the daughter of the local evangelical pastor. It turns out later that the charge was not murder but rape; later still, we learn that this didn’t happen either and that the whole thing was a set-up by her evangelical father who used three teenagers from his congregation to plant evidence in the black man’s locker. He faced a court martial at which the absence of concern by his fellow servicemen and the equal lack of affection of the locals, ensured that he was found guilty and hanged.

Now we move forward 28 years, by which time the three teenagers are young men, respected members of the local community, involved in good works. Here the story gets confusing as we meet inmates of a local orphanage. Forward a further 28 years to the new century and the body of a young woman is found in a pit. By this stage, one of the original three teenagers is the police sergeant, another is the coroner and the third has taken over as leader of the evangelicals. As the story progresses, two of the threesome die in suspicious circumstances; we are not told what happens to the other. End of story. Modern novelists seem to think that part of their job is to make life hard for the poor reader. People who are called poets have been doing this since Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound, writing as obscurely as possible lest the reader may easily understand what they are saying. In this work, Eoin McNamee, the Belfast writer of the wonderful Resurrection Man as well as a semi-fictional account of the death of Princess Diana, has produced a work that will muddle and flummox the reader who tries to keep up with what is happening. Part of the problem is that the story is set in three different times – 1944, 1972 and 2000. Each time has its own set of events and even some of its own characters and the story jumps constantly from one to the other, like a child moving from one set of toys to another. It is not entirely clear whether the action is taking place in Northern Ireland, because although Warrenpoint is mentioned, so is Hawlbowline which is an island in Cork harbour. Add the way that characters have their names changed plus the final dozen pages which seem pointless, and you have a book which is a huge disappointment.

You may be inclined to forgive the disorganised story for the way that the author manages to imply a place in decay and a society in equal disarray. You can open it at any page and find this sense of disintegration and loss, a place abandoned. “The unpeopled beachfront scoured by the wind, the overgrown beauty spots … superstructure hidden by the cold mist, seeming like floating husks, unmanned. Ghost boats. Fog tendrils wreathed through the iron handrails…” Then there is this wonderful account of the town itself: “There were decorative roof peaks and turrets so that it looked as if the building belonged in a municipality where laws of necromancy were enforced.” That sense of witchcraft, of people living in a past age where hellfire and vengeance had priority over common human feelings, is sustained throughout. Some scholar may describe this book as brilliant and it may well be, but can we please have a story told in a way that has some consideration for the poor reader.

“Modern novelists seem

to think that part of their job is to make life hard for the poor reader.






The Gift of Friends


Diary of Greg Heffley’s Best Friend


The Tattooist of Auschwitz


When All is Said: Bestselling Irish Phenomenon


LEGO Minifigure Mayhem


The Wych Elm 


The Woman in the Woods



David Walliams


This is Going to Hurt 

Adam Kay

Emma Hannigan


Notes to Self

Emilie Pine

Jeff Kinney Heather Morris


The Choice

Anne Griffin


Everything I Know About Love

Dolly Alderton

Beth Davies & Helen Murray



Tara Westover

Tana French


The Playboy of the Western World

John Connolly


Get Running: Forget the gym, get fit, have fun!

Anna Burns


The Time of the Tans

10 Percy Jackson and the Singer of Apollo

Rick Riordan


3 The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz Jeremy Dronfield Edith Eger

J.M. Synge Mary Jennings

Dr. Tomas Mac Conmara

10 The Fast 800

Michael Mosely


The Gift of Friends


When All is Said: Bestselling Irish Phenomenon


The Wych Elm 


Normal People


The Importance of Being Aisling


Dirty Little Secrets


The Silent Patient

8 9

Emma Hannigan


Anne Griffin



Diary of Greg Heffley’s Best Friend 

Tana French


LEGO Minifigure Mayhem

David Walliams Jeff Kinney Beth Davies & Helen Murray

Sally Rooney


Percy Jackson and the Singer of Apollo

Rick Riordan

Sarah Breen/Emer McLysaght


Sam Hannigan’s Rock Star Granny

Alan Nolan

Jo Spain


Claude Best in Show

Alex Michaelides



I Owe You One

Sophie Kinsella


Hundred and One Dalmatians: Cruella and Cadpig

Peter Bently

The Lost Man

Jane Harper


The Wonky Donkey

Craig Smith

10 The Reckoning

John Grisham

10 Great Rocket Robbery

Alex T. Smith Patrice Lawrence

Frank Cottrell Boyce


St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I



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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I

Sky’s the limit for sceptic Healy-Rae WHEN it comes to articulating scepticism about climate change, no one comes close to the Healy-Raes, the dynamic duo of Kerry politics. Michael Healy-Rae was interviewed by journalist Dion Fanning on and shared his views on the topic. While it is his brother Danny who has the more controversial views on climate change, famously saying that Noah’s ark is proof that climate change doesn’t exist, Michael also weighed in on the subject in the interview. “Right now, this minute, there are 9600 airplanes up in the sky. Is somebody going to come along so and tell those people ‘Wel, do you know in the future we’re going to have to stop all air travel because look at what their putting out into the atmosphere’.” Fanning: “But they have tried to, they’ve done things with that, they’ve done carbon taxes, they do things with that, so ... Healy Rae: “They do things with it my eyeball, like, there is nearly 10,000 planes up in the sky and we have people coming along and talking about farmers with their animals and that that’s what’s going to destroy the earth – rubbish.

And which beer did the royals choose to pour? Guinness? No. How about Harp? Harp is like the Reschs of Ireland and just about the unsexiest Irish beer. But the brand now has the ultimate celebrity endorsement with the Duchess Of Cambridge chanelling her inner Eastenders barmaid for a photo opp. Funny old world.

Dignified and appropriate roast “And then somebody burning a bit of turf in a fire or cutting a bit of timber to keep themselves warm. They want to perish the people, they want to starve us, we won’t be able to eat meat, we won’t be able to drink milk, we won’t be able to light a fire. I mean, that’s nonsense.”

Brexit barmy BREXIT is making people do funny things. First it was Prince Charles trotting out the céad míle fáilte’s at the Embassy of Ireland in London. And then in what must be a first, we saw his son William and wife Kate showed up behind a Belfast bar pulling pints no less.

BRITAIN’S Secretary for Northern Ireland caused outrage this month when she said that killings by security forces during the Troubles were not crimes as these were people “acting under orders and fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way”. The satirical Waterford Whispers News team decided to take the story a step further, reporting that “the Conservative Party had succeeded in their motion to rename the 1972 massacre in Derry, formerly known as ‘Bloody Sunday’, as ‘Dignified and Appropriate Sunday’. “Although the 12-year Saville Inquiry found that the murders on that fateful day were both ‘unjustified’ and ‘unjustifiable’, a recent report has that suggested four soldiers involved in the shooting of 28 unarmed civilians might face custodial sentences prompting Bradley to make her comments about the Troubles, or ‘The Bloopers’ as they are now to be called.”

They said it...

“The fewer than 10per cent [of killings] that were at the hands of the military and police were not crimes, they were people acting under orders and fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way.” Minister of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley, whose remarks caused outrage. “Karen Bradley has yet again displayed her complete ignorance of Northern Ireland. This is utterly insensitive and so devoid of fact that it is shocking in the extreme. Did she miss David Cameron’s statement on Bloody Sunday in 2010? She badly needs to pick up a history book because this standard of ignorance is not only insensitive, it’s also dangerous.” SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood. “I do want to do now is make sure I deliver for those families, from all parts of the community, who have been so deeply affected by the Troubles. I know how raw that pain is and I’m devastated to think that I have made it worse.” Secretary Bradley apologises. “A no-deal Brexit will be a major shock for the Irish economy. We cannot offset all the damage it will do, but we are doing everything we can. This legislation is the product of a root-and-branch trawl of our laws to determine what changes will be needed if the UK becomes a third country overnight.” Tánaiste Simon Coveney launching emergency “no-deal” Brexit legislation. “Teachers [in a Dublin school] spewed flippantly homophobic rhetoric, with my classmates laughing along.” Dublin actor Andrew Scott, speaking about being gay while being brought up in Dublin, and the damage done to him by the Catholic Church. He added that it probably has “merit for some people”. I’m a f***ing international lawyer ... Indian money-grabbing c***s” ... I’ve done so much for you f***ing Indians and f***ing Pakistanis, you should be grateful to me.” Some of the outburst of Belfast lawyer Simone Burns, who uses the surname O’Broin, on board an Air India flight. Burns pleaded guilty to assault, in a British court.

Brexit gags

Wills and Kate learn a new skill, pulling a pint at Belfast’s Empire Hall. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

CONAN O’Brien: “Brexit will make prices go up in Britain, so it will cost them twice as much to not go to the dentist.” Or O’Brien again: “I’ve haven’t seen so many Brits pull out since Madonna was dating.” Matt Abbottt: “Brexit is like having a wee in the middle of the room at a party because nobody is talking to you, and then complaining about the smell.”



1. ​ In which city is the Cathedral of St Nicholas? 2.​ In which county is the Rock of Cashel? 3.​ Which character from Sheridan’s The Rivals mixes up her words? 4.​ Which member of the Royal Family also glories in the title Baron Downpatrick? 5.​ Tiger Woods won the British Open in 2006 and 2007. Who followed him in 2007 and 2008? 6.​ The first ones were made in 1904 in New York by Thomas Sullivan who used them to send samples to his customers. They were originally made of muslin and handsewn. What? 7.​ Which is the oldest licensed distillery in the world? 8.​ He was born in Ballylongford in Co. Kerry, and died when his warship was sunk off the Orkneys, thus becoming the only dominating world-figure of the First World War to be killed by the enemy. Who was he? 9.​ He became King of Scotland at the age of 13 months, and subsequently, during his reign, the Plantation of Ulster began. Who? 10. In which county is St Patrick reputed to be buried?

Clues across 1. There should be rhyme, if not reason, in such justice (6) 4. You could reach this Irish town if you randomly had a mile (8) 8. Ursus beside sodium leads to place in Galway (6) 9. Immature town in Mayo? two of them might make area of the Shannon! (6) 10. Feeling joyful in Aghagaybeg (3) 11. Hard nib’s used to wave it around (8) 12. Industrial area rather hurt, held in recession (4) 13. A cobweb on yard of hard wood might hide this colour (5) 15. Dublin writer adding fuel to horror genre (6) 16. Energy removed from Westmeath town leaves behind castle protection (4) 17. Taxicab rate hides trip to Dublin area (5) 19. A contorted gardenia may have a problem with this (8) 20. Signal implement in board game (3) 21. Go out of control to find job (6) 22. Duck to find snow remover, for example (8) 23. Court damsel initially in the forest (4) 24. Burn papers beside road (6) 27. Woman bites end off eclair and chews it

28. Even parts once down for some sign (4)

“We decided to create a poll on social media to ask our customers what was the fairest way to operate and if they were happy for us to ask for deposits. We had an overwhelmingly positive result with 57 per cent happy with a deposit plus 34 per cent happy to supply a credit card for bookings. We’ve made a business decision that, going forward we will take credit card bookings for tables over six to safeguard bookings – and our revenue, whilst exclusive evenings and Gala events will be sold on a ticket basis.” Irish restaurateur Paul Brennan who reckons he lost £2,700 on St Valentine’s Day through no-shows. He now insists on deposits at his restaurants.








29. Poem in Modeenagh (3) 8

Clues down


1. It’s a boar, pal, making an open plane curve (8) 2. Pirouette perch (3)

10 11


3. It’s a car Rick — Ma, cross over to


find Ulster town (14)



4. A germ, eh? Might make famous


Irish nationalist (7) 5. Out for the week-end, she could be 17

lucky (4) 6. Try manilla, eh? Could make award-

19 20

winning author of The Giant, O’Brien (6,6)




7. He drew a butchered confused view of Ireland, this self-proclaimed king (6,3,5)




8. They indiscreetly are spilt (5)


14. Somehow look a ham in a musical (8)




17. Secretive organisation found in all Cistercian monasteries (1,1,1) 18. Bishop managed to conceal object for saint (7) 19. Wanted gentleman to interrupt activity (7) 21. A leader in Ireland; together confusingly we con (5) 25. Non distaff island in Irish Sea (3) 26. Just a part of equine equipment (3)

LAST EDITION’S ANSWERS: Clues across 1. Gal. 3. Adder. 6. Frill. 9. Era. 10. Ellis. 11. Tomás Ó Fiaich. 12. English. 13. Tot. 15. Crumb. 16. Kearney. 17. Des. 19. Dye. 21. Ate. 22. Dara. 23. Mary Lou. 25. Ark. 27. Rathcrogan. 28. Ogle. 29. Mellifont. 32. See. 33. Vera. 34. Tay. 35. Grand. Clues down 1. Gaelic. 2. Lilliput. 3. Assembly. 4. Dingo. 5. Recipes. 6. Father Brown. 7. Inmate. 8. Liszt. 14. Oyster. 16. Kerr. 18. Address. 19. Daphne. 20. Emerald. 24. Yahoo. 25. Angles. 26. Keenan. 29. Met. 30. Fir. 31. Nun.

Answers: 1. Galway; 2. Tipperary; 3. Mrs Malaprop; 4. The Duke of Kent; to date, it is believed that Baron Downpatrick has yet to visit the Co. Down town; 5. Padraig Harrington; 6. Tea bags: 7. Bushmills in Co. Antrim; 8. Lord Kitchener (of “You’re country needs you” fame; 9. James VI and I; 10. Co. Down.





3:32 pm

St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I


h c r a M h t 7 1 ay d n u S – h t 5 Friday 1 ACON, B H IT W T S A F K A E H BR $16 ALL DAYKIRPIS DING D U C A L B & G G E INTS ENNYonPus hat! K IL K & S S E N IN U $10 G b your b ints and gra Purchase 2




Performers & entertainment all weekend! See for details


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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I

Luka Bloom continues his Australian tour throughout March.

Friday, March 15 SYDNEY Business breakfast

The Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce hosts a business breakfast with host Emma Hannigan. Special guest is Heather Humphreys TD, Ireland’s Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation. Doltone House. 7.15am.

Lansdowne Lunch

The legendary Lansdowne St Patrick’s Day Lunch attracts over 1,000 Irish business revellers. Special guest is Heather Humphreys TD, Ireland’s Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation. ICC, Darling Harbour from noon.

PJ O’Brien’s

Party all weekend at PJ O’Brien’s in King St with live Irish music, Irish dancers and big Irish breakfasts.

The Orient Hotel

St Patrick’s Weekend Festival kicks off with liver Irish bands.

The Paragon

The Circular Quay pub will host a St Patrick’s Weekend festival with live Irish bands each night.

PJ Gallaghers at The Criterion

The Criterion hosts a weekend-long celebration of St Patrick’s day in an authentic Irish venue. Tonight, entertainment includes the Irish Rattlin Bog, playing from 6pm til 9pm

PJ Gallagher’s

All PJ Gallagher’s pubs host Irish festivities stretching over the St Patrick’s day weekend. This celebration includes food and drink specials including a $16 all day Irish breakfast with bacon, egg and black pudding. Live music and traditional Irish dancing over the three days.

BALMAIN Bald Rock Hotel

Live Irish music from 6.30pm to kick off the St Patrick’s weekend party.

PENRITH, NSW Charity Golf Day

Penrith Gaels host their annual Charity Golf Day with all proceeds going to the Nepean Hospital. The cost is $85 per person. Call (02) 4722 8180 for more details.

KATOOMBA, NSW Blue Mountains Folk Festival

The Blue Mountains Music Festival of Folk Roots and Blues takes place in Katoomba in March each year including Irish artists such as Daoiri Farrell, Wallis Bird and Luka Bloom. The festival runs from the 15th to the 17th and begins on Friday at 7pm, running til late.


Party all weekend at PJ O’Brien’s in King St with live Irish music, Irish dancers and big Irish breakfasts.

MELBOURNE Brexit Conference

The Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce partners with the University of Melbourne to present the 2019 St Patrick’s Conference on Brexit. Speakers will include visiting Minister Damien English TD and a host of key influencers and stakeholders such as Prof Philomena Murray, Prof Ronan McDonald, Austrade, the Australian government, business leaders and policymakers. Shed 14, Central Pier, 161 Harbourside Esplanade, Docklands.

will be held at the magnificent Sky Room from 12pm.

PJ O’Brien’s

Saturday, March 16

Party all weekend at PJ O’Brien’s at Southgate with live Irish music, Irish dancers and big Irish breakfasts.

NTH MELBOURNE Celtic Club at The Metropolitan

Traditional Irish session kicks off a weekend of Irish festivities at the Celtic Club’s temporary home. 42 Courtney St, North Melbourne.

CANBERRA, ACT Giants v Geelong

Round seven of the NAB AFL Womens Competition. The Giants, featuring Irish stars Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner, will face the Geelong Cats. The game will celebrate the early, but highly significant, contribution of the Irish players. Manuka Oval. 7.15pm. Free entry.

BRISBANE IACC St Patrick’s Lunch

The flagship Corporate lunch for the Irish Australian business community in Brisbane

what’s on

PERTH IACC St Patrick’s Lunch

The Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce Corporate Lunch will be hosted by former AFL star Karl Langdon, with Wallabies legend Stephen Moore giving the St Patrick’s address. The event will also feature comedian Paul Martell as well as Irish dancers and live music. Crown Perth.

BRISBANE Brisbane Irish Festival

The Brisbane Irish Festival is a longstanding annual event that promotes and celebrates the occasion of St Patrick’s Day, Irish culture and its contribution to the state of Queensland. The Irish will march through Brisbane city for the 30th time this year with their parade that begins and ends outside the Botanic Gardens. The parade starts at 10.30am but there will be stalls and entertainment both before as people congregate and afterwards when everyone returns after the parade.


Paddyfest at Eagle Farm Racecourse offers a full day of entertainment which will include indie rock four piece Kingswood, Brisbane-based Tullamore Tree, Tartan Shamrock who go between traditional Irish and classic Aussie rock, singer-songwriter Shanon Watkins, City of Brisbane Pipe Band, Walker’s Irish Dancers and

Leprechaun DJ. The programme will also include entertainment for kids of all ages, including a petting zoo, and at 7pm, the festival will wow with a big Irish themed laser, lights and live DJ spectacular. This epic show will be a huge hit with the kids so be sure to stick around for the show!

KATOOMBA, NSW Blue Mountains Folk Festival

The Blue Mountains Music Festival of Folk Roots and Blues takes place in Katoomba and this year’s line-up included Irish artists such as Daoiri Farrell, Wallis Bird and Luka Bloom. The festival runs from the 15th to the 17th and continues Saturday at 9:30am til late.

PERTH, WA St Patrick’s Festival, WA

The annual Western Australia St Patrick’s Festival is held annually in the heart of Perth. The Festival includes a day of entertainment following the morning parade through the streets of Leederville and included children’s attractions, Irish entertainers and exhibitions of traditional hurling and Gaelic football. After the parade, a free family day concert will take place at Leederville Oval. This year’s theme is “Home and Away” so bring some Green and a Smile and join in an epic day. With over 50,000 attending last years event organisers hope to better that and give everyone a great sense of Ireland for the day…


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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I



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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I

Saturday, March 15 (contd) BALMAIN Bald Rock Hotel

NORTH MELBOURNE Celtic Club at The Metropolitan

Live Irish music from 5pm

Pete Lalor performing live at the Celtic Club’s temporary home. 42 Courtney St, North Melbourne.

SYDNEY, NSW The Orient Hotel


St Patrick’s Weekend Festival continues with live Irish bands.

The Paragon

Melbourne’s most popular Irish pub at Southbank has a full weekend of Irish entertainment and great food.

The Circular Quay pub’s St Patrick’s Weekend Festival continues with live Irish bands each night.

Sunday, March 17

PJ O’Brien’s

Party all weekend at PJ O’Brien’s in King St with live Irish music, Irish dancers and big Irish breakfasts

Annual Mass for the Feast of St Patrick at St Patrick’s Parish Church Hill at 20 Grosvenor Street, The Rocks from noon. Celebrated by Bishop Terry Brady.

Mercantile Hotel

Sydney St Patrick’s Day Festival

The fun starts here with The Merc’s inaugural Irish Dance Competition with schools participating from all over NSW. The event is also registered with the Irish Dance Commission, Dublin and followed by a great live music lineup! Dance Competition: 10am to 2pm. Live music with Mark Butler (2pm), Blackwater (5pm) and The Soniks (8pm).

PJ Gallagher’s Enfield

All PJ Gallagher’s pubs host Irish festivities stretching over the St Patrick’s day weekend. This celebration includes food and drink specials including a $16 all day Irish breakfast with bacon, egg and black pudding. Live music and dancing. Pints of Guinness or Kilkenny $10.


SYDNEY St Patrick’s Day Mass

The Rocks in Sydney will transformed into an Irish Village for the day. The St Patrick’s Day Parade will kick off at 11am from First Fleet Park and make its way through the historic area finishing at Dawes Park (see map left). The day-long program of activities commences at Dawes Park starting at 11.30am. Live music from favourites such as Strawberries, Cabbage and Blackwater. Kids can enjoy dancing, Irish language sessions, cultural acts, musical performances, prizes for best dressed, face painting, a tattoo artist, raffles and lots more. A large licensed bar and various stalls offering food and drinks, to crafts. To add to the celebration, once the sun goes down, the sails of the Sydney Opera House will be illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening project.

PJ Gallagher’s All PJ Gallagher’s pubs host Irish festivities stretching over the St Patrick’s day weekend. This celebration includes food and drink specials including a $16 all day Irish breakfast with bacon, egg and black pudding. Live music and dancing. Pints of Guinness or Kilkenny $10.

Mercantile Hotel This year at The Mercantile, there will be pop-up bars, Irish dancing and food stalls running throughout the day. There will also will an extensive line up of Irish musicians, including Blackwater, Shindig, Shaylee Wilde and Achtung Baby U2 Tribute. The celebrations begin at 10am after the breakfast which is now sold out.

The Orient Hotel St Patrick’s Weekend Festival continues with live Irish bands.

The Paragon The Circular Quay pub’s St Patrick’s Weekend Festival continues with live Irish bands and food specials.

Doss House The cosy Irish whiskey bar at 77 George St in The Rocks has a license extension upstairs into the courtyard for the day with additional bars, kicking off from 10am. There will be a Trad Session starting at 2pm. More live music continues downstairs through the evening. Black pudding toasties available.


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The Irish Echo’s new website is fully responsive, so the pages adapt to any device. Visit on desktop, tablet or mobile. Your one-stop shop for Irish Australian news and information online Check out local news that affects you. We want to continue to be your trusted source of authentic news about our community. Our new website only publishes stories relevant to the expats and the Irish Australian community. Browse our comprehensive what’s on listing The Irish Echo online what’s on is the most complete listing of Irish events around Australia ever compiled. But now, you can also • Subscribe to the print or the new digital edition • Send us your own Australia and Me story • Submit an item for our what’s on • Sign-up for our free new enewsletter • Got a vacancy? Post a job ad The new website will complement our social media assets. Our Facebook following now stands at 26,500. If you’re interested in digital advertising or sponsorship, please contact:


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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I



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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I

Comedial David O’Doherty is back in Sydney for the Comedy Festival.

Sunday, March 17 contd SYDNEY, NSW The Ship Inn

The popular city pub opens at 10am with live Irish music from 3pm. Pints of Guinness for $10. Bailey’s or Jameson Irish Coffees also available.

Fortune Of War

St Patrick’s Day celebrations at the Fortune Of War at 137 George St in The Rocks with live Irish music from 1pm to 10am, Irish food specials and Guinness giveaways.

PJ O’Brien’s

Party all weekend at PJ O’Brien’s in King St with live Irish music, Irish dancers and big Irish breakfasts.

BALMAIN, NSW Bald Rock Hotel

Full Irish breakfast from 9am with a pint of Guinness. Live Irish music all day.

PENRITH, NSW Penrith Gaels

Live music and entertainment starting at 9am with Soul Jamz. Lenny Duff performs at 1.30pm and Blackwater at 5.45pm. Irish dancers will also perform and an Irish menu will be available all day. Cnr Glebe Pl and Richmond Rd, Kingswood

FITZROY NORTH, VIC St Patrick’s Family Fun Day

The Melbourne Irish Festival is an annual family fun day open to all, celebrating Irish culture and heritage, gathering people of all backgrounds together to celebrate their Irish roots in a day of family fun. St Patrick’s Day Family Fun Day, hosted by Melbourne Irish Festival Committee, takes

place at Edinburgh Gardens (Fitzroy North) between noon and 5pm. Described as Melbourne’s original Irish festival, this is a free event, supported by Yarra City Council. The fun day boasts traditional and contemporary Irish music accompanied by Irish dancers as well as activities for kids. Irish food will be served.

ST KILDA St Patrick’s Festival

St Kilda has its own Irish St Patrick’s Day Festival this year. This event is the first of its kind and will be held at O’Donnell Gardens, St Kilda. Kicking off at 2pm, the day will be brought to life with live cultural music, traditional Irish dancing, food and activities designed to give everyone a little taste of Ireland. This is an over 18s event but there is a free family festival earlier in the day, between 10am and 1pm. There is an admission fee for the later event.

ADELAIDE, SA St Patrick’s Day at Adelaide Oval

Come and revel in Irish festivities on the Telstra Plaza at Adelaide Oval! This free event is open to all ages so round up your family and friends for a big day of celebrations featuring Irish dancers, live music, traditional food, delicious drinks and much more. There will be plenty of free activities for the kids including face painting, dance classes and a bouncy castle! Music from the Adelaide Irish Pipe Band, Paul O’Donnell & Gallowglass, Ceol Maith, Kelly’s Wake, Folk n Spicy, Shambolics and The Finn

NORTH MELBOURNE Celtic Club at The Metropolitan

Twelve hours of live entertainment from 12.30pm at the Celtic Club’s temporary

home. 42 Courtney St, North Melbourne.

dinner begins at 7pm. All are welcome.

KATOOMBA, NSW Blue Mountains Folk Festival

PERTH Boyzone live

The Blue Mountains Music Festival of Folk Roots and Blues takes place in Katoomba and this year will include Irish artists such as Daoiri Farrell, Wallis Bird and Luka Bloom. The festival runs from the 15th to the 17th and allegedly concludes on St Patrick’s Day at 9.30pm.

Monday, March 18 SYDNEY St Patrick’s Day Mass

The traditional Mass for the Feast of St Patrick in the Sydney CBD at the beautiful St Mary’s Cathedral from 10.30am. Celebrated by Bishop Terry Brady.

Tuesday, March 19 BRISBANE Kodaline

Anthemic indie-rockers, KODALINE return for the first time since their Sold Out 2014 Tour! Performing their hits All I Want, High Hopes, Follow Your Fire, The One, Honest and Born Again at The Triffid in Brisbane.

Irish pop quartet Boyzone return to Australia for their farewell tour. They kick off the tour at the HBF Stadium in Perth.

SYDNEY Luka Bloom

The popular Kildare singer performs at The Factory in Marrickville from 8pm.

in Ireland. Come along and hear about the opportunities available.

ST KILDA Gavin James The popular Dublin troubadour plays the Prince Bandroom in St Kilda as part of his national tour.

MILTON Luka Bloom

Thursday, March 21

The popular Kildare singer performs at The Milton Theatre on the south coast of NSW.

SYDNEY The Great Comeback Roadshow

Saturday, March 23

Boston Scientific and Hero Recruitment are looking for engineers to fill positions in Ireland. Come along and hear about the opportunities available.

PERTH Kodaline

SYDNEY Kodaline Popular Irish indie rockers Kodaline play the Metro Theatre.

Gavin James

The anthemic indie-rockers return for the first time since their sold out 2014 tour! They play The Capitol tonight.

The popular Dublin troubadour plays the Manning Bar at Sydney University as part of his national tour.

Sunday, March 24

BRISBANE Gavin James


Wednesday, March 20

The popular Dublin troubadour plays The Foundry in Brisbane as part of his whistlestop national tour.

WILLOUGHBY, NSW Poetry Dinner with Anne Casey

Friday, March 22

PERTH Gavin James

SYDNEY The Great Comeback Roadshow

Gavin James continues his Australian tour at The Badlands Bar in Perth.

Presented by the North Shore Poetry Project - this dinner is on Wednesday 20 March. One of the two feature poets is Irish Australian Anne Casey who has won many awards here in Australia, and in Ireland. The

what’s on

Boston Scientific and Hero Recruitment are looking for engineers to fill positions

The evergreen singer continues his tour at the Meeniyan Town Hall in Victoria.


stay up to date with what’s on at :: (02) 9555 9199

St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I


Wishes You A Happy St. Patrick’s Day!





W W W . C LO N A K I LT Y. C O M . A U

making the world feel smaller with the tastes of home




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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I

the Easter long weekend on 120 hectares at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, just north of Byron Bay. The lineup of artists this year includes iconic Irish musicians such as Imelda May and Hozier.

Friday, April 19 Bluesfest 2019

Bluesfest continues at Byron Bay.

Saturday, April 20 ADELAIDE A Taste Of Ireland

Featuring stars from the West End’s Lord Of the Dance, A Taste Of Ireland is described as an Irish music and dance sensation. Their national tour kicks off tonight in Adelaide with other show scheduled for Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.

Bluesfest 2019

Bluesfest continues at Byron Bay.

Sunday, April 21 BYRON BAY Bluesfest 2019

Bluesfest continues on the north coast.

Monday, April 22 SYDNEY, NSW Hozier - Australian Tour

The highly acclaimed singer and songwriter Hozier plays the first of two shows Sydney Opera House.

Bluesfest 2019

Bluesfest continues at Byron Bay.

Tuesday, April 23 SYDNEY, NSW Hozier - Australian Tour

Irish performer Hozier’s second show at the Sydney Opera House.

Des Bishop

A native New Yorker and one of Ireland’s most loved comedians, Des Bishop returns to Australia in 2019 with a brand-new hour of stand-up. His signature rapid-fire, open and inquisitive style brings in the laughs and makes you think! Unapologetic, charismatic and clever, Des Bishop is not to be missed. This is the first of five shows at the Comedy Store, 8.15pm.

Foil, Arms and Hog Des Bishop returns to Australia for shows in Melbourne and Sydney.

Wednesday, March 27 MELBOURNE The Great Comeback Roadshow

Boston Scientific and Hero Recruitment are looking for engineers to fill positions in Ireland. Come along and hear about the opportunities available.

Luka Bloom

The Kildare-man continues his national tour at the Spotted Mallard in Melbourne.

Thursday, March 28 MELBOURNE Des Bishop Live

Ireland’s favourite US-born comedian returns to Australia with his new show, The Comments Section. He kicks off his tour at the Greek Theatre in Melbourne tonight.

The Great Comeback Roadshow

Boston Scientific and Hero Recruitment

are looking for engineers to fill positions in Ireland. Come along and hear about the opportunities available.


Bloom continues his national tour at the Caravan Music Club in Bentleigh East.

Saturday, March 30 ST KILDA Luka Bloom

Luka Bloom continues his national tour at the Memo Music Hall in St Kilda.

Sunday, March 31 SURRY HILLS, NSW Poetry Book Launch

Colleen Z Burke hosts a launching of her new poetry book, accompanied by traditional music from Bridie Burke, Cory Clarke plus friends. The launch begins at 2.30pm

Tuesday, April 2 ADELAIDE, SA Boyzone - The Farewell Tour

After a quarter of a century performing together, the sensational hit band Boyzone prepare for their final, farewell tour. The tour will also feature Irish singer and songwriter Brian McFadden who joins the group throughout their last performances ever in Australia. The concert in Adelaide will take place at Adelaide entertainment Centre Theatre, kicking off at 7.30pm

Wednesday, April 3 MELBOURNE, VIC Boyzone - The Farewell Tour

Boyzone continue their farewell tour at the Margaret Court Arena.

Friday, April 5 SYDNEY, NSW Boyzone - The Farewell Tour

Ronan Keating and his Boyzone mates

what’s on

perform their last ever concert in Sydney at the ICC Theatre in Darling Harbour.

Saturday, April 6 GOLD COAST, QLD Boyzone - The Farewell Tour

Boyzone perform the first of two concerts at The Star Gold Coast.

Tuesday, April 9 MELBOURNE Foil, Arms and Hog

The new stars of Irish comedy kick off their Australian tour at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne as part of the Comedy Festival.

Thursday, April 18 BYRON BAY Bluesfest 2019

Bluesfest is a festival that showcases music from around the world annually on

The Dublin trio, who have built their audience through posting a weekly video skit on Youtube, come to Sydney for the first time. Tonight, they play the first of three shows at The Factory in Marrickville. The first two shows are already sold out.

Sunday, April 28 SYDNEY David O’Doherty

The ‘hairy Enya’ is delighted to return to Sydney with a brand-new show made up of talking and songs played on the plastic keyboard he got for his Confirmation. O’Doherty brings the goods time and time again with his unrivalled silly charm. A perpetual award winner in his own right and touring companion of Flight of the Conchords, this Irish legend is good times guaranteed and should not be missed. Enmore Theatre, 7pm.

Coming In May Celtic Tenors

The charismatic, globe trotting trio are one of the most successful classical crossover act to emerge from Ireland. The Celtic Tenors will perform classical arias, a capellas, hauntingly beautiful Celtic harmonies, and popular contemporary songs. Their national tour kicks off in Byron Bay on Friday, May 17.

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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I


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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I



New-look team for Euro campaign

Mick McCarthy faces the first Tests of his second stint as Republic Of Ireland manager.

MICK McCar thy has included forwards Padraig Amond and James Collins in the first squad of his second spell as Republic of Ireland manager. Newport’s Amond has scored 21 goals in all competitions this season, including five in the Exiles’ memorable FA Cup run, while Luton’s Collins has netted 20 times. They are two of three players in the 38-man provisional squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia to have been handed a first senior call-up. The other is Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers. Keiren Westwood, Stephen Ward, Aiden McGeady, James McCarthy, Glenn Whelan and David McGoldrick have each earned recalls. Injury has ruled out Ciaran Clark, Callum Robinson, Jonathan Walters and Michael Obafemi, while West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who won the most recent of his three Republic of Ireland caps in June, has switched



allegiance to England. The Republic, who appointed McCarthy as successor to Martin O’Neill in November, face Gibraltar away on March 23 and Georgia at home three days later. Aston Villa midfielder Whelan, 35, returns after making an 85th and what appeared to be final appearance for his country in the penultimate game of O’Neill’s tenure, November’s draw against Northern Ireland. While Patrick Bamford is not involved this time, McCar thy has confirmed the Leeds and former England Under-21 striker is keen to be a part of the set-up. McCarthy said at a press conference in Dublin: “My last contact with him was [at the weekend] after [Leeds] won on Friday night [4-0 against West Brom, with Bamford scoring twice]. I just congratulated him on his goals – one was a sublime finish – and just asked him if he still wanted to join us, and he said ‘Yes’, and I’m hoping to meet him. So I haven’t given

up on it at all. If he does, its got to be June [when the Republic face Denmark away and host Gibraltar] now because we’re not going to get it for these games. But I’ve made that clear to him and I’m hoping to see him ASAP. I stressed to him if he wants to be involved in June, we’ll have to get it done as quickly as possible.” Squad: Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Keiren Westwood, Caoimhin Kelleher, Kieran O’Hara, Mark Travers. Defenders: Seamus Coleman, Matt Doherty, Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh, John Egan, Shane Duffy, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Enda Stevens, Derrick Williams, Stephen Ward. Midfielders: Aiden McGeady, Alan Judge, James McCarthy, Jeff Hendrick, Conor Hourihane, Alan Browne, Harry Arter, Glenn Whelan, David Meyler, Shaun Williams, Robbie Brady, Callum O’Dowda, James McClean, Daryl Horgan. Forwards: Shane Long, Sean Maguire, Ronan Curtis, Scott Hogan, Aiden O’Brien, David McGoldrick, James Collins, Padraig Amond.

FIFA approves Rice switch to England WEST Ham midfielder Declan Rice is free to start his England career after FIFA confirmed his switch from the Republic of Ireland. The 20-year-old, who was born in London with Irish grandparents, considers himself “to be of mixed nationality” and has played three times for the Republic. But because they were friendlies it left the door open to change allegiance and last month he announced his intention to formally do that, a move which has now been ratified by FIFA. “FIFA can now confirm that the change of association of Declan Rice from Republic of Ireland to England has been approved,” a spokesman for the world governing body said.

Duff steps up as Rodgers heads south DAMIEN Duff is ready to fight for the cause at Celtic in his new role as firstteam coach. The Dubliner recently joined the club’s coaching set-up, initially working with the reserves, but after the shock depar ture of Brendan Rodgers to Leicester he was moved up to form part of interim boss Neil Lennon’s backroom staff, along with John Kennedy. The new management team debuted with a last-gasp 2-1 win at Hearts, a result which keeps the Hoops eight points clear of Rangers at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership. Duff told Celtic TV he is keen to provide whatever help is required. “I’m ready for it,” he said. “I know the role and I know the club, and it’s a massive honour. Celtic is more than a club. Here, you’re fighting for more than that. You’re fighting for a cause as well. I know what the club means to fans. It means the same to me, so I’m ready. I understand the club and, Celtic Football Club aside, myself and football, I’m all about emotion and enthusiasm.” Duff admits there is a part of him “that’s sad to see the back of the reserves for now.” The 39-year-old former Chelsea, Newcastle, Fulham and Melbourne City player said: “I felt like they were starting to really understand me and the way I work. “What I’ve enjoyed up until now is improving young players. I feel I’m good at it, so I guess I’ll miss that side of it, but I’ll still be keeping an eye on them and helping them whenever I can. It’s obviously a massive step up to the first team.”

Patrick Bamford of Leeds has declared his interest in declaring for the Republic of Ireland.

Stronger Irish whip rules to be enforced STRONGER whip rules are to be

Ciara Mageean celebrates her bronze medal at the European Indoor Athletics Championships.

Double bronze for Irish athletes CIARA Mageean and Mark English won brilliant bronze medals in the 800m in 1:47.39 and 1500m in 4:09.43 respectively on the final night of competition at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow last week. English had to get through to the final on an appeal after being impeded in the semi-final but there was no doubting his medal in the final. The UCD athlete was at the head of the field from the gun following some smart pre-race strategy advice from his coach Steve Magness. “Steve told me to get out from the start and expend some energy so I’ve to thank him for that,” said English. “It was really good to get a medal and it shows the young athletes out there to keep sticking at it.” This was the Donegal man’s third European medal over 800m – he won bronze outdoors in Zurich, silver indoors in Prague and another bronze last week. Mageean has endured some difficult moments the last couple of years but this was a brilliant response and

added to her European outdoor bronze in 2016. After struggling with injury and ill-health in 2017, the 26-year-old bounced back brilliantly. “I set foot on the track today and I said I’m going to run my best race, I’m going to lay it all out there. I don’t know if it’s going to mean a medal or not but I’m going to walk off the track with my head held high,” she told RTÉ Sport after the race. “That’s all any athlete can do. I’ve come off and I’ve beaten myself up after too many championships. I’m going to enjoy my athletics and go out there with a smile on my face. “I live to run for the green, white and gold. People talk about different things but you don’t do athletics for the money and you don’t do athletics for the amazing good times because they are very few and far between. “I run to race in this vest and it means the world to me. Other people can look at peaks and troughs; I’d like to see them be constantly on a peak, peak, peak, peak. “It doesn’t work like that in life.

“I ran my whole underage career on an upward tangent and had a really tough injury and missed out on my whole Under-23. I feel I am becoming a much more consistent athlete and hopefully my troughs will be not quite as low. I know that those times will come but my athletics career so far has made me tough and made me realise that the lows will be low but the highs will high.” Mageean was pipped for silver by Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui and admits she felt a little annoyed having overtaken her opponent near the end before being caught on the line. “It’s funny. I’m obviously happy to have bronze and there’s that little part of me that is a little bit annoyed it’s not silver but that’s the athlete and the competitor in me,” Mageean said. “I’m just glad to be able to put my form out there on the track. I know I’ve been in good shape and I’m training well. I’m delighted. “I came into this championship with the aim of wining a medal and I’ve come away with it.”

introduced in Ireland following a significant rise in the number of offences last year. The indiscretions increased by 26 per cent to 213 in 2018, prompting the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board to look into measures which will include a limit, for the first time, on how many times a jockey can use the whip. The new rule will see Ireland come closer into line with Britain where a maximum of seven strikes are permitted on the Flat and eight over jumps.

Andy Reid named as Irish U18s coach FORMER Republic of Ireland

midfielder Andy Reid has been appointed as head coach of the nation’s under-18s team. Reid, who won 29 senior caps for Ireland and was part of the team which won the European Under-16s Championships in 1998, is working towards his UEFA Pro Licence and will replace Jim Crawford in the role. The 36-year-old has been working under Crawford with the under-18s since March last year but, with the senior man stepping up to the under-21s to assist Stephen Kenny, will now take charge. “It is a real honour and privilege to have this opportunity,” Reid said. “Having played underage football for my country, I understand the pathway these young players are taking. “It will be a real pleasure to help them along the way.”



St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I

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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I



Final whistle looms for happy hooker Nick Purewal

Rory Best scores in the corner against France during his final home Six Nations appearance. Picture: Lorraine O’Sullivan

IRELAND captain Ror y Best has admitted he expects to retire after the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Best won his 116th cap in Sunday’s Guinness Six Nations clash against France in Dublin, but now intends to bring down the curtain on an international career dating back to 2005 before this calendar year is out. The evergreen 36-year-old now hopes his Test swansong could be leading Ireland to a first-ever World Cup semi-final, and maybe even beyond, come the spring tournament in Japan. Best captained Ireland for the 31st time at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday in what was his last home match in

the Six Nations. “I think it’s fairly certain that the World Cup will be the end for me,” said Best. “I think that I feel really good, I don’t feel I’m playing any worse. I’m really enjoying rugby and part of that might be because I haven’t 100 per cent made the decision. But I’m fairly sure it will be, and part of the reason I’m enjoying rugby so much – and I hope playing well – is because there’s that weight lifted off. “When you’re playing you start to get fixated with what’s coming, or if you’re playing well in this Six Nations you put yourself in the window for the World Cup. “And if you play well in the World Cup there’s two more Six Nations

and you’re in the window to the Lions tour. And you start to get bogged down with things that don’t really matter.” Ulster and British and Irish Lions hooker Best sits third on Ireland’s all-time appearance list, behind Ronan O’Gara with 128 caps and and Brian O’Driscoll with 133. Best made his Test debut in a 45-7 home defeat to New Zealand in Dublin, on November 12, 2005. The uncompromising front-rower spent the first half of his Test career battling with Munster’s Jer r y Flannery for the number two shirt. But as time passed Best forced his claims and eventually overtook the decorated Flanner y, and the Ulsterman then moved on to be

named captain in 2016. Best has led Ireland to their maiden two victories over New Zealand and to the 2018 Six Nations Grand Slam, just the nation’s third clean sweep in history. With head coach Joe Schmidt also stepping down after the World Cup, the Ireland set-up will be all change come 2020. “I’m feeling very relaxed now that the body feels that it’s happy to go on,” said Best. “And at the minute, mentally I’m really enjoying the rugby. But I’m in a really lucky position at the minute that the way I’m feeling, I can go to the World Cup and be at the top of my game. Plus, Joe [Schmidt] said he didn’t want me to keep going without him!”


Ruthless win restores Irish faith Nick Purewal

JOE Schmidt believes Ireland reasser ted their World Cup credentials in a punishing 26-14 Guinness Six Nations win over France in Dublin. Captain Ror y Best, Johnny Sexton, Jack Conan and Keith Earls all crossed as Ireland suf focated the disorganised French at the Aviva Stadium. Head coach Schmidt had conceded Ireland had slipped off the perch of their stellar 2018 in losing to England and labouring past Scotland and Italy – but believes the controlled victory plots the course back to top form. Ireland will now attempt to derail Wales’ Grand Slam charge in Saturday’s Principality Stadium clash in Cardiff, with boss Schmidt relieved to see his men back on song. Asked if the comprehensive France victor y can prove a timely reminder of Ireland’s World Cup aims, Schmidt said: “Probably. Again I know there’s been some frustration externally, and it has been internal as well. We’ve been frustrated that we haven’t been as cohesive as we would have liked, and that we started the championship on a really flat note. “And one of the great reminders for us is you get nothing back in a Test match. You can’t go and say ‘Ah well we missed that opportunity, can we go and play it again tomorrow?’ You get one window and you can’t just open it a little to let the breeze in, you’ve got to open it right up and get through it. “So I think that’s what we showed a little bit more of today. It will give confidence, but we know what a challenge next week’s going to be anyway. “We said all along this is a little bit similar to what we’ll have to contend with at the end of the year anyway, with a sixday turnaround from a team in blue to a team in red. “It’s not something that we want to miss a beat with now. We want to keep building over these next six days if we can. “And I’m sure the Welsh boys were sitting back with feet up watching and they will be very much primed for us next week.” Ireland pinned France into

their own 22 for almost the entire first-half in a stunning muscle-flexing turn, leaving Schmidt suitably impressed. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen in the last six years a team control a 40 minutes like we did in that first-half,” said Schmidt. “We kept that pressure on, and to keep that pressure on four that 40 minutes spoke volumes about the energy and the intensity we brought to our game. We need the confidence as well, we need to get back on the front foot. From where we were last time we sat in this room, it’s taken a while but there was a bit of our rhythm back today. “But in six days’ time it becomes a whole dif ferent equation. Wales in Cardiff is always a complicated fixture for us.” Rob Kearney pulled out of Sunday’s France clash at the last minute with a calf injury, but Schmidt expects the Leinster full-back to be fit to face Wales. Robbie Henshaw is unlikely to recover from his dead leg in time however, leaving Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose the favourites to start in Cardiff. “I think Rob Kearney will be a really good chance, he just had calf tightness yesterday,” said Schmidt. “So I’d be surprised if Rob wasn’t training on T u e s d a y, o r We d n e s d a y, depending on when we next train. That will depend how the recovery goes, tomorrow and T uesday. Robbie Henshaw would be less of a chance. Robbie is recovering but it’s slower than expected. “That dead leg has just unfortunately lingered. It’s a long, long time ago since I played but I had one. And in some situations it’s almost impossible to get rid of it fast. You just have to let it recover in its own time.” France captain Guilhem Guirado admitted Les Bleus paid the price for their poor first-half showing. “Ireland kept hold of the ball so well in the first-half they didn’t give us a chance to initiate anything.” Earlier in the weekend, Wales defeated Scotland at Murrayfield to keep their Grand Slam hopes alive and England easily accounted for Italy at Twickenham.

Jack Conan on the charge against France at the Aviva Stadium. Picture: Lorraine O’Sullivan

Ireland keep slender Six Nations hopes alive IRELAND rediscovered their 2018 mojo to thump France 26-14 and sustain their slender Guinness Six Nations title hopes. Captain Ror y Best, talisman fly-half Johnny Sexton, Jack Conan and Keith Earls all crossed as Joe Schmidt’s men hit back to form, with Yoann Huget and Camille Chat claiming late consolations for the disorganised French. Ireland’s bonus-point win means victory against Grand Slam-chasing Wales in Cardiff on Saturday could yet sweep the title, though that would also require an England slip-up against Scotland at Twickenham. Skipper Best marked his final Six Nations match in Dublin with a try and another top per formance. Ireland’s 32-20 openingweekend defeat to England leaves unbeaten Wales favourites for the Grand Slam at the Principality Stadium, and the English ought to see off the Scots. But this commanding Irish victory at least sets up an intriguing

Ireland26 France14

final-weekend clash, as Schmidt’s side look to lay down a marker for the autumn’s World Cup. Ireland’s blistering start yielded a rapid try for Best, the skipper ploughing over after a penalty lineout and Sexton converting for a 7-0 lead. Garry Ringrose’s astute kick in behind forced France to concede a five-metre lineout, then Arthur Iturria’s cheap penalty gifted the hosts another kick to the corner. From the second set-piece Best drove over in the corner, to settle any early nerves. After that, the half proved one-way traffic, Ireland spending the middle third creating then bungling any number of scoring chances. Finally Sexton ghosted home on a simple midfield wraparound as the monumental home pressure told, the fly-half

converting again. The outstanding Ringrose almost bagged a near-immediate third, only to knock on in the act of grounding after a stunning high-ball field. Undeterred though, again the relentless Irish pressed, punishing France’s slack alignment in the field’s central third with Conan stealing over on the right. Hulking France prop Demba Bamba lost the ball horribly cheaply in contact, and Les Bleus paid the full price as replacement Conan nipped home. France started the second half at pace but were in truth easily subdued again by the hosts. And when Earls raced in for the bonus-point score, any remaining French resolve all-but evaporated. With the game lost, and after a raft of changes off the Irish bench, the French managed a couple of late tries through Huget and Chat to give some respectability to the scoreline.


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Hogan to fight for world title in Mexico David Hennessy

DENNIS Hogan will fight Jaime Munguia for the WBO Super Welterweight World Title on April 13. The Brisbane-based Kildare boxer will have to travel to Monterrey Arena in Mexico to fight the Mexican champion on his own turf. Munguia is undefeated and been the world champion since last May when he defeated Saddam Ali in four rounds. Hogan overcame Jamie Weetch in Brisbane in December to remain mandatory challenger. “I’m ready,” Hogan told the Irish Echo. “I’ll go there and I’ll win the world title.” Hogan is trained by Glenn Rushton, who has already taken Jeff Horn to a world title. The Kildare boxer’s team wanted the fight in Australia but feel his home crowd puts all the pressure on the champion. “Sometimes the pressure can be good for people but you can go with the crowd a little bit and get carried away,” Rushton said. “Maybe it will all get to him, who knows? But all I know is I’ll be ready like I always am. We’ve got a brilliant game plan and I’ll be executing that perfectly and whether he’s at his best or not, I’m confident of taking that title out of there.” Hogan’s manager Paul Keegan has said he expects the Mexican champion to go for an early knockout which could play into the Irishman’s hands if it doesn’t come off. “If he loses the run of himself a little bit and starts to do that, it could be a long few rounds for him after that.” The title fight has been a long time coming as Hogan has continued to beat ranked contenders. When he became the mandatory challenger last year, Munguia and his team had no choice.

Dennis Hogan is declared the winner after his December bout against Jamie Weetch. Picture: Katherine O’Malley “When we made number one and were the next in line, they didn’t even want to look at us and then we had a conversation about going to Mexico,” Hogan said. “I said, ‘No, we’re not going to go to Mexico like that. Let’s get mandatory. Let’s force his position’. “They were saying he wanted to have a homecoming but he went off and fought three other people, no mention of Mexico. Then when it’s time for my mandatory, Mexico came back into the equation instantly. He always wanted

me on his terms and I don’t blame them because I’ll give him trouble every day of the week. They know that. They’re smart enough to know that and they want all the one per centages in their corner. That’s what they’ve tried to do here. They’ll be hoping to get over this and move on but that’s not how it’s going to play out.” Hogan travelled to Germany in 2015 for a world title fight with Jack CulcayKeith. That defeat remains the only loss on his professional record. Does he


feel better prepared to take the world title this time around? “No doubt. I’m a completely different person, mentally and physically. I’ve got a great team around me. I’ve got every aspect covered. When you’ve got all the boxes ticked, you can just relax to do what you need to do. I’m certain I’m going to win this world title. When you have that sort of certainty, good things start to happen.” Hogan looks forward to returning to Brisbane with the belt and then

defending it in his home country. “I would like to get the title back here and represent the country that has been so good to me. Then I’ll go back to Ireland and have my first world title defence there as I always planned to do when I left Ireland for Australia just over eight years ago.” Dennis has featured in the Brisbane St Patrick’s Day parade in the past but this year will not be celebrating until after April 13. “I’ll be just training that day but I might go watch the parade.”


World plan irks Sexton All world cup matches live Andrew Baldock

ENGLAND captain Owen Farrell and Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton have warned of serious player welfare and integrity concerns over World Rugby’s proposed new competition structure. A new global season is due to kick of f next year, r unning until 2032. Discussions, meanwhile, have also taken place about a new World League that would combine 12 international sides from both hemispheres in a competition running through winter and spring and culminating with playoffs and a final. The IRPC said players were “united in their concern” about issues such as player-load challenges from playing multiple Tests across different time zones in consecutive weeks, increased conflicts between club and countr y demands, plus potential impact on the World Cup and British and Irish Lions tours. The International Rugby Players’ Council (IRPC) also claimed that promotion and relegation will not form part of the new proposal, saying it would prevent Tier Two and emerging nations from accessing top level competitive matches. It is understood that any World

Jonathan Sexton is not a fan of the proposed world rugby revamp.

League would have the intention of featuring England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina, plus Japan and the United States, who could be invited to join the Rugby Championship. But if no promotion and relegation is sanctioned, then it could mean countries like Georgia, Samoa, Fiji and Tonga being isolated. “It seems like a commercial deal on the future of the game is being negotiated at a rapid pace with little consideration given to the important points we raised with World Rugby in

November,” Sexton said, in a statement released by the IRPC. “The issue of player load has never been so topical. However, it needs to be properly understood. To suggest that players can play five incredibly high-level Test matches in consecutive weeks in November is out of touch and shows little understanding of the physical strain this brings.” World Rugby said its commitment to player welfare matters is unwavering. “World Rugby recognises and values the importance of player considerations and input into the annual international competition discussions,” In a statement, the sport’s governing body said. “ H o w e v e r, t h e m a n n e r t h e International Rugby Players (IRP) organisation has expressed these is surprising, given regular engagement throughout this ongoing process. “We will continue to engage and give full consideration to the welfare of players within the ongoing discussions. We remain committed to a process of constructive dialogue with all stakeholders, including the IRP, to deliver a model that ensures the best-possible competition and commercial outcomes for all.”

ALL matches in the Rugby World Cup will be screened live after a rights deal was finalised last week. Under the deal, all matches of the prestigious tournament will be shown live and ad-break free during play on a dedicated Fox Sports channel. The Rugby World Cup 2019 will be held in Japan from September 20 to November 2 meaning that matches are scheduled in prime viewing times for Australian audiences. Fox Spor ts will live stream and broadcast all 48 matches of the tournament to Foxtel subscribers. In another first, Kayo Sports will also stream Fox Sports’ live coverage to its subscribers and all matches will be available to stream on-demand. The dedicated Rugby World Cup channel will include match previews, daily highlights, review programs, archive matches from previous Rugby World Cup tournaments and analysis from the high profile commentators. Head of Fox Sports Peter Campbell said: “The Rugby World Cup 2019 is the biggest sports event this year and the only place to see all 48 games live and ad-break free during play is on Fox Sports. We will create histor y with every Rugby World Cup 2019 game available to Foxtel sports subscribers

The Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan on September 20.

and exclusively live in 4K Ultra HD – this will provide a stunning viewing experience like never before. “The rights we have acquired will also allow all matches in the tournament to be streamed on the new sports only service Kayo Sports, as well as Foxtel Eligible Foxtel customers can also stream the Rugby World Cup 2019, where and when they want, with Foxtel’s mobile app, Foxtel Go.” Some matches will also be shown free-to-air on Network Ten.


St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I


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Irish set to make their mark as footy kicks off A RECORD 14 Irish players are signed to AFL clubs this year. Some, like Zach Tuohy of Geelong, who has played 138 consecutive AFL rounds, is an established star. Others, like the Giants Callum Brown are just of f the boat. Here’s a quick guide to the AFL’s Irish cohort for 2019: Darragh Joyce (St Kilda)

The Cork man, like Anton Tohill ,joins the side in the categor y B rookie selection.

The Dublin man joined the Lions in 2018. He has signed a two-year deal at the club. He is a superb talent and an excellent addition to their squad.

Conor McKenna (Essendon)

Joyce, brother of former Kilkenny hurler Kieran, is playing with St Kilda. He made his debut against Nor th Melbourne at the MCG in Round 15 in 2018.

James Madden (Brisbane Lions)

Hanley had been in Australia since 2008 when he joined the Brisbane Lions. He has since joined the Gold Coast Suns. He has played 140 games scoring 59 goals and is one the team’s vice-captains this year. He is a real star player and role model to any young player going to AFL.

Son of former Derr y star Anthony Tohill, who managed Ireland international rules side and spent a year playing for the Melbourne Demons in the 1990s and who won an All-Ireland in 1993 with Derry. Anton has been signed under the category B rookie selection.

The Laois native has been in Australia

Another player who joins the Magpies.

Pearce Hanley (Gold Coast Suns)

Callum Brown from Derry is one of five new Irish signings for the 2019 AFL season.

since 2010. He first joined Carlton in 2010, making 120 appearances scoring 40 goals. He has now moved to the Geelong club and has been there since 2017. He holds the record for most consecutive games in the AFL with 138 but this looks set to be interupted by a knee injury which has delayed his preseason preparation.

Zach Tuohy (Geelong)

Anton Tohill (Collingwood)

Mark Keane (Collingwood)

Colin O’Riordan (Sydney Swans)

This will be a big season for the Tipperary man as he seeks to consolidate his position in the first team. He has been consistently selected in the preseason matches by coach John Longmire ,which may augur well for 2019. The 22-year-old Tyrone man was on the rookie draft in 2014. He made his full debut in 2015 against Richmond and has played more than 50 games for the club since. His pace out of defence makes him an exciting player to watch.

Red Og Murphy (North Melbourne)

The Sligo teenager signed for North Melbourne in October 2018. He is sure to feature in the upcoming season. Sligo’s loss is North Melbourne’s win.

Stefan Okunbor (Geelong)

The young Kerryman joined the Cats

in October 2018. He was voted Munster U20 player of the year. He has signed a two-year rookie contract with the club.

Mark O’Connor (Geelong)

The Dingle and Kerry native made his debut in 2017 for the Geelong Cats against Essendon at the MCG. He had five trials at various AFL clubs before Geelong’s offer was accepted.

Conor Glass (Hawthorn)

The Derryman is one of two Conors plying his trade with the Hawks. He made his debut in 2017 against Fremantle. Conor Nash (Hawthorn)

The Meath man joined Hawthorn in late 2016 as category B rookie. He made his debut in round 21 against Geelong in 2018 and has impressed with his amazing pace and footy smarts.

Callum Brown (GWS Giants)

The young Derryman also joined in October 2018. He has signed a category B rookie contract.


Dubliner’s pride a boost for Lions David Hennessy spoke to former Dublin dual star James Madden about following in the footsteps of the late, great Jim Stynes’ and becoming Brisbane Lions’ latest Irish recruit.

“IT’S probably the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make,” James Madden says of his choice to leave his friends and family at home in Ireland and join the Brisbane Lions, becoming one of five fresh Irishmen on AFL lists for this season. “I had just finished school. All my mates are in college at home. I decided to give it a go. I’m loving it so far. It’s a great decision I’ve made. I’m not regretting it at all. I’m happy so if you’re happy, you can’t really complain too much,” he tells the Irish Echo in Brisbane. “It’s dif ferent. At home, you’re one of the best players on ever y team you play on. Then you come out here, you think you’re playing well but you’re still not quite at that elite level with the top players in the country who have been playing for the last whatever, 18 years so it’s just going to be tough to get up to their level. “I know it’s a different sport but I’ve still been playing sport for the last 14 years at quite a high level, I like to think. It’s going to take a while but I’ll get there.” The 19-year-old signed a two-year contract as a Category B rookie in August last year after impressing with his display in the European ‘combine’ in Dublin. Madden impressed with his speed, breaking the all-time AFL 20 metre sprint record with a time of 2.69 seconds. This broke the record of 2.75 that was set by Joel Wilkinson, formerly of the Gold Coast Suns. He also beat an agility record set by Fremantle’s Stephen Hill. But is it tough to be as quick in the Sunshine State? “Yeah, especially when you’re training at two or three in the afternoon. It’s pretty tough to keep doing repeat efforts of

running. Everyone expects you to get the ball and run past everyone but it doesn’t really work like that when the rest of your team is still pretty quick even though you might be the quickest.” Madden was in demand but the Brisbane club won the race for his ser vices after visiting him and his family in Dublin. “Since I met them over in Florida over at the AFL Academy talking to Steve [Conole, Brisbane Lions national recruiting manager], he was probably the nicest and most interested and genuinely wanted to get to know me. When Dom [Ambrogio, Lions list manager] came over, he wasn’t just asking me about sports, he actually asked about my family and my personal life which I really liked.” Madden has star red for Dublin at both Gaelic football and hurling where he has played senior matches for the Sky Blues. Madden is not the first from his club to make the switch from GAA to AFL as he comes from the same Ballyboden St Enda’s club that pr oduced 1991 Br ownlow Medal winner, Jim Stynes. “Obviously I’m a completely different player. He was a ruckman, tall forward or whatever you want to call him. I’m more the speedster, r unning and tackling. Obviously I’d like to be as good as him and make a name for myself in the AFL. “Even though he didn’t play for the club for that long, he’s still probably the biggest name in the whole of Ballyboden St Enda’s, which is just quite impressive and obviously you would like to follow in his footsteps. “As soon as people started to hear that I was going to give the AFL a go, people started talking to me about Jim Stynes and his brothers and how they were just crazy. I heard these stories that Jim used to go on runs straight up the mountains on his own and people used to have to collect him and then one day, someone wasn’t there to collect

Brisbane Lions’ new recruit James Madden (main and insert) comes from the same club as AFL legend Jim Stynes.

him and he just decided he would run back down. He was a bit of a mad man, I reckon. I never met him obviously but he’s a massive name around St Enda’s.” Madden’s athletic attributes mark him out as a similar player to Pear ce Hanley, Tadhg Kennelly, Zach T uohy and Conor McKenna, so he can be expected to excel at half-back: “It’s always good to be compared to blokes who are able to compete at the AFL level. I want to try to be like those blokes but I want to bring other stuff to my game as well that makes me stand out. Hopefully my speed

As soon as people started to hear that I was going to give the AFL a go, people started talking to me about Jim Stynes and his brothers and how they were just crazy.

will work in my favour and I’m able to take people on.” Brisbane Lions brought Pearce Hanley to the AFL and the Mayo man spent eight years at the club before he moved down the road to the Gold Coast Suns two years ago. “He came out here and he had never really kicked much ball before. He did a lot of work on that and now he’s probably

one of the best kicks in the game so that’s something I’d like to have. “Because I’m starting from scratch I won’t have any bad habits. Just get the kick, perfect it. If you have a good kick, you’re able to run and compete and if you get to know a few more structures, you should be able to make it.” Many Irish AFL players hope

to return to Ireland one day and compete for their club and county. Is that something that Madden also covets? “It’s a massive dream of mine to play for Dublin. You look at them winning four All-Irelands in a row and who wouldn’t want to be a part of it? It draws your eyes home but I’m happy here. “A lot of my mates from the under 20s team are starting to play a few games now. You miss the boys, having the chats, going to training, you miss stuff like that but I wouldn’t say I’m too upset about it. It’s hopefully going to be two of the best years of my life.”


St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I


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St Patrick’s Day Edition, 2019 I


Profile for Irish Echo

Irish Echo St Patrick's Day Edition 2019  

Irish Echo - Australia's Irish Newspaper Vol 32, No 3

Irish Echo St Patrick's Day Edition 2019  

Irish Echo - Australia's Irish Newspaper Vol 32, No 3

Profile for irishecho