Tag: Australia

Irish backpackers facing abuse and being thrown off jobs in rural Queensland

Paddy Farrelly, coordinator at Irish Australian Support Association Queensland.

“Young Irish backpackers in Queensland are getting turfed off farm jobs in favour of locals. I dealt with one case where a young lady was verbally abused and spat at in a rural town, called ‘a f***ing filthy foreigner!’”

Those are the words of Paddy Farrelly, coordinator of Queensland’s Irish support group IASAQ, who is used to dealing with difficult cases coming through the door of their office in Brisbane, but with the onset of Covid-19 and the economic crisis, the seriousness and frequency of incidents has risen to a whole new level.

“We are currently dealing with domestic violence and alcohol-abuse cases, as well as people of all ages who find themselves stranded here with no support network or resources.”

With the massive rise in the cost of airline tickets, many people haven’t been able to afford to fly home to Ireland.

“Some backpackers bought tickets to go home at greatly elevated prices when the pandemic first began, only for those flights to be cancelled at short notice and no refunds given. That four to seven thousand dollars they paid for tickets would have kept a roof over their head and food in their belly for quite a long while.

“It’s easy for people to say they should have gone home when they had the chance but all flights stopped quite quickly once the social measures began to take effect. Many of them were in far north Queensland or way out west, and wouldn’t have been able to get to a last-minute available seat on an aircraft in Brisbane with just hours of notice given.”

Young people have to rely on local charities and their families to bail them out. Paddy says: “Some have families who can send them money to survive until they can get home, others are not so lucky as their families are being hit hard financially back in Ireland as well.”

And it’s not just the young Irish who are finding themselves stranded; it’s people of all ages.  

Paddy explains: “Many people in their golden years have become stranded due to flight cancellations and not all of them can afford the figures being quoted by some airlines for a ticket home, in some cases people have been quoted more than $7,000 for a one-way ticket. Also, the older folks who are stranded are greatly concerned about the dangers of actually making the journey home, while the pandemic is still ongoing.

“A lot of people who are contacting us presently simply don’t qualify for any available assistance.”

In order to support those in need of their services during these extraordinary times, the Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland (IASAQ) is asking the community to donate to their Covid Appeal. You can contribute here and all donations over $2 are tax deductible.

You can watch IASAQ’s appeal video here.

Isla’s poem about Irish hero Michael Collins goes viral

Isla Corbett in Brisbane

A poem about Micheal Collins written by a 12-year-old Irish girl, Isla Corbett, who lives in Brisbane, has gone viral online and she will be interviewed about the experience on Cork radio station 96FM and 103FM tomorrow.

Isla penned The Ballad of Michael Collins for a school English assignment at The Gap High School. The class had been asked to write about their hero. Isla’s teacher awarded her an A for her efforts.

Isla was born in Cork and her family moved to Australia in 2011, first to Sydney and then settling in Brisbane. The family moved back to Ireland for several years to care for Isla’s elderly grandparents.

Isla took a great interest in Irish history at school in Whitegate, County Cork. Her great-grandfather and great-granduncles had all fought alongside Michael Collins and served in the Free State Army under his leadership.

Despite being just 12 years old, Isla shows great promise as a poet and her poem has reached more than 50,000 people all over the world on Facebook. It was also shared by Micheal Collins House, a museum dedicated to the life and times of the revolutionary, soldier and politician, in Clonakilty, County Cork.

You can hear Isla’s interview at 11.30am Irish time (9.30pm Queensland time) on December 17 at www.96fm.ie

The Ballad of Michael Collins

1916 was the start, the war in full commence,
When British troops were swarming in to slaughter and dispense,
Against the Empire’s daunting might, Ireland stood no chance,
When Michael Collins heard the news and came to take a stance.

He joined the Easter Rising, allied by Plunkett n’ Pearse,
They seized the grandest buildings to face a battle fierce,
The British were enraged and the Rebels they engaged,
Using brutal force, war on Dublin had been waged.

Furious were the citizens, their home had been destroyed,
Their relatives deceased and their souls devoid of joy,
The once thriving streets, now blown up and aflame,
And so they thought the Rebels were the only ones to blame.

Cornered up with guns, the rebellion’s state was bleak,
Arrested by the British with their spirits far from weak,
The cruel retribution saw 2,000 sent to camps,
And the brave leaders’ fates were sealed harshly with a stamp.

15 killed by firing squad, without a trial or care,
Connolly so wounded he was shot tied in a chair,
With the barbarism shown, Irish anger had arose,
And turned the former traitors into national heroes.

By the time of Collin’s release, plans were brewing in his head,
Of how he could prevent Ireland’s suffering and dread,
He motivated an army and beat the British crown,
Guerrilla tactics he invented were used to bring them down.

Dáil Éireann was established, but it came with a price,
Half a country only, the rich north the Brits would slice,
Civil war engulfed the land, Collins ambushed with a gun,
Ireland’s greatest hero shot down at 31.

1916 was the start, the war in full commence,
When British troops were swarming in to slaughter and dispense,
He’d fought strong like a lion, saving Ireland Collins swore,
He hadn’t won the battle, but he had won the war.

Family appeals for help for car-crash victim Seán

Seán Ryan Shiner is a valued member of the Melbourne Shamrocks and the Golden/Kilfeacle GAA clubs.

An Irish family has launched an urgent appeal for funds towards the treatment of a Tipperary man who was left with life-changing injuries after a car crash in Melbourne.

Seán Ryan Shiner was involved in a horrific car accident on November 21. It has left him with life-changing injuries.

A passionate hurler, Seán had to have emergency surgery to try to save his right foot, which proved unsuccessful. He had to have his foot amputated and plates put into his left hip.

His parents have already flown out to be by his side while his undergoes treatment and rehabilitation at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Seán will need to undergo a number of additional surgeries in the coming weeks and months.

Seán’s sister Denise said: “Seán is a true sportsman. He has played across many disciplines with different clubs over the years, endearing himself to club mates and competitors alike. Those who know him will have seen him on rugby and football pitches but we all know that it is hurling and, of course, greyhounds that are his big loves.”

Seán had originally been planning to spend the next five years living and working in Australia but those plans now look likely to change. He will likely need to remain in Australia while his recovery continues and the Shiner family are appealing for help in funding the coasts of his ongoing care and rehab.

Seán’s family say they are “grateful and blessed” that he is still here with them and added: “We are hoping to raise adequate money to help with the enormous expenses that he will incur in the coming weeks, months and beyond to help with his rehabilitation. “

If you can help, go to the Seán Ryan Shiner Injury Fund page on Go Fund Me.

Epic Ned Kelly movie set to premiere on Australia Day

Oscar winner Russell Crowe starring in True History of the Kelly Gang.

An epic fictionalised telling of the story of Irish-Australian bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly, True History of the Kelly Gang, will open in select Australian cinemas on January 9, just 17 days before it makes its Australia Day television premiere on streaming service Stan.

The cast features BAFTA award-winner George MacKay as Ned Kelly. Nicholas Hoult, Essie Davis, Charlie Hunnam and Russell Crowe co-star. 

Inspired by Peter Carey’s Booker prize-winning novel, Justin Kurzel’s film shatters the mythology of the notorious icon to reveal the essence behind the life of Ned Kelly.

Spanning the younger years of Ned’s life to the time leading up to his death, the film explores the blurred boundaries between what is bad and what is good, and the motivations for the demise of its hero. Youth and tragedy collide in the Kelly Gang, and at the beating heart of this tale is the fractured and powerful love story between a mother and a son.

Justin Kurzel, director and producer said: “I am thrilled in the boldness and daring by Stan to embrace our ambitious film. For Australians to see our take on Peter Carey’s extraordinary book in cinemas and on Stan over the summer is very exciting. I hope as many eyes as possible get the opportunity to see a film the makers are deeply proud of.”

It will be released into Irish cinemas on February 28, 2020.