Tag Archive | "Perth Irish"


Perth Irish dig in to help elderly couple

Irish families volunteered their time to spruce up elderly couple Patsy and Dennis Forden’s garden in Perth.

Irish families volunteered their time to spruce up elderly couple Patsy and Dennis Forden’s garden.

Irish families in Perth rallied around to help an Irish Australian family fix up their garden after they were verbally abused on a popular Facebook page.

Shannon Molloy placed a message on the Irish Families in Perth page looking for someone to tidy up her parents’ yard as they are both ill.

However, a man took exception to her offer of $20 an hour and the other families on the page were so disgusted by his response they cleaned up the garden for free.

“It was amazing. My husband is Irish and we are on the Irish Families in Perth Facebook page. I put an advert up as I always see ads for people looking for cash-in-hand jobs,” she said.

“All they could afford was $20ish an hour and within five minutes I had a message from a nasty person.

“I got 150 messages of support and he got barred from the page. Next thing there was a message saying ‘Busy Bee this Saturday’ and they said they would do it for nothing.”

About 30 people, including children, arrived at Patsy and Dennis Forden’s home in Perth and they completely transformed the garden.

They removed all the weeds from the garden, pruned the trees, laid paving to the garden shed, took loads of rubbish to the dump and a plumber in the group even replaced the taps in the laundry.

The family put on a sausage sizzle for the group and were extremely thankful for the huge effort by the Irish community.

One woman who couldn’t make the garden blitz turned up at the house to do Patsy’s hair.

The couple, both 69, couldn’t believe it happened and love going out into their garden to look at all the work.

“They said it was a dream come true. They feel like they are dreaming. They go out several times a day to make sure it happened,” Shannon said.

Mrs Forden suffers from a painful illness called Hidradenitis suppurativa and also had two heart attacks within a year of each other.

Mr Forden was due to get a hip replacement in June but unfortunately suffered a heart attack and the operation has been postponed.


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Rovers in plea to save junior team

Shamrock Rovers' under-18 team won the State league title in 2012, but this year it doesn't have enough players to field a team.

Shamrock Rovers’ under-18 team won the State league title in 2012. But this year it doesn’t have enough players to field a team.

Perth’s Shamrock Rovers Soccer Club is baffled by the lack of interest from the Irish community in the club’s junior squad.

Although Rovers’ under-18 squad were victorious in the state league last year, they have suddenly found themselves without a junior team to train this year, after failing to attract 16 to 18-year-olds to the team.

Committee member Bill Byrne, who has lived in Australia for the past 30 years and joined Rovers three years ago, explained the club’s bewilderment at the shortage of players.

“Last year we had a fantastic year with our under-18s and they won the league. Then seven of them became too old to play under-18 any more and two or three left, and we sort of found ourselves without a team for this year,” he said.

“Nobody expected it. When we had our first pre-season get-together, only three kids turned up and we couldn’t believe it.

“We didn’t expect to have this problem with the under 18s squad this year because Perth’s got about 30,000 or 40,000 Irish people living here, maybe even more. It’s unbelievable that we can’t get 12 kids in the age 16-to-18 bracket,” Mr Byrne said.

Up until three years ago, the club had the acclaim of being the most successful amateur senior club in the state, according to Byrne.

Following their success, the club decided to accept an invitation to join the state semi-professional league, and have since gone from strength to strength, finishing in the top four twice, with the senior team and winning the junior league last year.

Despite the club’s obvious success, Mr Byrne believes that they are not receiving adequate support from the Irish community in Perth.

With some strong support from Irish people in Perth, he said he believed the team could be a powerhouse in Western Australia.

For information on the Shamrock Rovers Soccer Club, visit  www.shamrockrovers.com.au or call Bill Byrne on (08) 9354 4479.


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Corkman drowns while diving in Thailand

Colin Callanan and son Lee.

The late Colin Callanan with son Lee.

An Irishman resident in Perth has drowned while on a work trip in Thailand.

Colin Callanan, 29, from Innishannon, West Cork, drowned in a diving accident off the island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand on Friday, April 12.

Mr Callanan, who had been living in Perth, was in Thailand on business with AMS Service & Maintenance.

He worked for the air condition company as a project manager in the tenancy services division. No one from the company was available for comment, when contacted this afternoon.

The father-of one is understood to have gone diving in his free time.

His body has been recovered and the Department of Foreign Affairs are providing consular assistance.

Mr Callanan attended Scoil Eoin primary school in Innishannon, followed by secondary school at St Brogan’s College in Bandon, according to the Irish Examiner.

Funeral arrangements will be announced later in the week.

He is survived by parents Donal and Marie, his son Lee, and siblings Sarah, Keith, Simon and Julie.



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Unprepared Irish arrivals adding to welfare strain

There has been a sharp increase in "distressed calls" to Irish welfare groups in Perth.

There has been a sharp increase in “distressed calls” to Irish welfare groups in Perth.

The number of newly-arrived Irish making desperate calls to Perth’s emigrant support associations is on the rise, community groups say.

Western Australia based groups, the Claddagh Association and Friends of Sinn Féin have both reported a substantial increase in the number of distressed calls from young Irish.

The majority of the calls are relating to a shortage of work or money while other calls are more sinister, it has been claimed.

Tom Quinn from the Claddagh Association expressed his frustration at the lack of preparation made by younger Irish landing in Perth.

Irish people should not be allowed to enter Australia unless they have a return ticket and insurance, he said.

“It’s just a lack of common sense,” Mr Quinn said.

“One man called us on Good Friday. He arrived here three weeks before with $3,000 in his pocket and he thought it was going to last forever. He just made some bad decisions and he had spent it all already.”

Mr Quinn said people need to understand the streets of Perth are not lined with gold, and that they are going to need their own supply of money when they get here.

“We’ve noticed that the boys are throwing away money,” he said.

“The only times girls have problems is when they’ve had accidents, which is different.

“We’ve also just had a case this week where a girl rented a room in a house and less than 24 hours after moving in, the door got busted down because the bloke that owned the house was selling drugs.

“She was the first one in the firing line, and she got a smack in the face and a knife was held to her throat,” he explained.

Mr Quinn believes that things are only going to get worse due to the growing number of Irish people making their way to Perth with lofty expectations of immediate employment.

“They’re arriving and they’ve been told we’re waiting out here ready to give them jobs,” he said.

“They’re arriving here unprepared.”

Friends of Sinn Féin member Dean Keating spoke to the Irish Echo about the difficulties Irish workers are having with 457 visas and the Irish perception of the Australian dream.

As previously reported in the Irish Echo, some unscrupulous employers are getting rid of their sponsored staff as economic conditions tighten.

The sponsored worker then has just 28 days to find a new sponsor.

“I’ve been involved with Cairde Sinn Féin for about a year now, and we had never had any queries in relation to losing jobs up until probably five or six weeks ago and in a short period of time we’ve had about a dozen,” he said.

“It’s a lot of tradesmen, carpenters and electricians and one or two of them were actually working up north and came back to Perth after being let go and they were looking for sponsorship because they were on 457 visas.”

He has expressed his concern over the way Australia is being portrayed as a land of opportunity in Ireland.

“With the expos back home, people think they can get off the plane in Perth and there will be employers waiting at the gate for them, but it’s not that way at all,” he said.

The concerns came as the Claddagh Association launched an information booklet for Irish immigrants in the West Australian capital.


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Welfare group release booklet for Irish moving to WA

Martin McGuinness helped to launch the new publication yesterday. (Pic: PA)

Martin McGuinness helped to launch the new publication yesterday. (Pic: PA)

An emigrant welfare group in Perth has compiled an information booklet in response to problems encountered by new Irish migrants to the state.

The booklet covers lifestyle adjustments such as swimming between the flags at the beach, wearing sunscreen and being fire-aware at barbecues.

And there is plenty of advice for people planning to make the move, with sections on the high cost of renting and the 457 visa.

The booklet also gives newly arrived people information on where to meet up with other Irish people and groups they can join to make friends.

Northern Ireland deputy first minister Martin McGuinness met Claddagh Association president Joan Ross at Stormont yesterday, to launch Information on Moving to Western Australia.

“In the current economic climate many people are considering emigrating to gain work and a better lifestyle overseas,” Mr McGuinness said.

“Today’s launch of the association’s information booklet provides practical information and guidance for people considering emigration to Western Australia. It covers a range of advice from applying for a visa to jobs and cultural information.”

He said anyone interested in making the move to Western Australia should read the booklet.

Ms Ross warned would-be emigrants not to have high expectations of life in the West Australian capital.

“Generally these people come unprepared and with an unrealistic expectation of life in Perth, with the result they find themselves homeless and without food, that’s when the Claddagh responds to their plight,” she said.

“When help arrives they are very grateful for the assistance provided and in most cases the provision of accommodation and food vouchers is enough to set them back on the right track.”

:: “Snowed under”

Claddagh Association vice president Samantha Melia told the Irish Echo she hopes the booklet will help people who find themselves in crisis thousands of kilometres from home.

“When I first came to Perth four years ago the Irish community wasn’t very big,” she said.

“With the recession, there was this massive influx very quickly.

“Before, there were a lot of backpackers and now the immigrants are entire families and people on one-way tickets expecting to get a job quickly.

“We have had an increase of 40 per cent in requests for help in the last three years. We have been snowed under,” she said.

The association has helped repatriate bodies of loved ones who have died in Western Australia and it also helps  provide accommodation for their families.

In the booklet, the association urges people travelling to WA to take out travel insurance.

“We had to repatriate a number of bodies,” Ms Melia said.

“If you have travel insurance it will cover the cost, otherwise it will cost between $8,000 and $10,000 to repatriate a body. One of the supports we offer is accommodation for the families of someone who has died or is likely to die.”

The booklet also points out that some people find the migration experience extremely hard because of homesickness.

“You could find yourself depressed and isolated,” Ms Melia said.

“It could be a scary situation. All of our committee is completely voluntary. The reward is ten-fold as it feels so good to help people.”

Information on Moving to Western Australia can be downloaded on the Claddagh website.




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Geldof toasts Perth Irish in new Boomtown


The streets of Perth were awash with green, white and gold yesterday, as thousands of sun drenched spectators came out to witness the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade.

In scorching 32 degree heat, star power came in the form of Irish humanitarian and legendary rocker Bob Geldof, who took time out from promoting the Boomtown Rats’ upcoming world tour to mingle with the locals at the Irish Club of WA and kickstart the highly anticipated parade.

“It’s incredible to think that right now around the world there’s 170 million people doing exactly what we’re doing here right now,” he said.

Geldof, who was appropriately decked out in a traditional green suit, spoke to the crowd about Ireland’s economic problems.

“I’ve been coming to Perth since 1978, I’ve got great friends here, I’ve seen the Irish community grow and grow over the years,” Geldof said.

“I’ve seen them gather together and take care of each other and in these hard times back in Ireland it’s fantastic to see these Irish groups taking care of their own people and the children who’ve had to leave once again and come here and find another home here.”

“So today go and celebrate who you are and what you are and celebrate the fact that you ended up in such a magnificent city, in such a beautiful country. You are indeed very lucky.”

Speaking after the parade at the Irish Club, Geldof who spent his time sipping on a pint of Guinness said: “There were thousands of people; it was an absolutely brilliant atmosphere.”

Pipe bands, Irish dancers and a strong representation of Gaelic football teams kept the crowd cheering all the way through the streets of Leederville, which were lined with flag-waving kids and adults alike.

Dozens of decorative floats made there way around the parade route, ending at the Leederville Oval, where families enjoyed the day with their fellow countrymen and even got the chance to taste some proper Irish cuisine.

One patriotic parade-goer expressed her delight at the morning’s proceedings.

“As you can see around you there’s a sea of green we should do this all the time, every year,” said Ballincollig spectator Evelyn O’Brien.

Another Dublin family who have been in Perth for 13 years, believe that a move from the parade’s former location of Fremantle to the city is long overdue.

“We’re really looking forward to it, especially with our little man because it’s his first Paddy’s Day parade,” said Lisa Kelly.

After months of preparation, organisers and volunteers could breathe a sigh of relief after the day went off without a hitch.

Karen Hennessy, of St Patrick’s Day WA, thanked all the volunteers and sponsors, who made the day possible.

“We’ve been at it for nearly a year now and the parade committee have just been fantastic,” she said.

“We’ve come up against a few stumbling blocks but City Events and iinet, the major sponsors have just really given us their support with finances but not only that have really backed the parade,” she added.


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Northbridge cafe owner responds to ‘fight’ video

Max Keyt inside the Istanbul Cafe in Lake St, in Northbridge.

Max Keyt inside the Istanbul Cafe in Lake St, in Northbridge.

The owner of a kebab shop in Perth has responded to a video published on YouTube earlier this month that showed Irish backpackers scuffling outside his business.

Max Keyt, 49, who owns the Istanbul Cafe on Lake St in Northbridge, told the Irish Echo he has since asked the staff member who took the footage to remove it from YouTube.

Mr Keyt, who also owns another kebab shop and pizzeria on the same street, said it is ‘very rare’ to see incidents like that recorded on February 10.

The video showed several men and a woman grappling with one another outside the late-night café.

A number of Irish voices can be heard in the two-and-a-half minute video, which ends as a police officer intervenes.

Mr Keyt contacted the Irish Echo to say he has worked in Northbridge for 10 years and has never had many problems.

His cafe in the popular nightclub district of the city opens until 2am on weekdays and 4am on weekends.

He said a perception that such incidents are ‘random attacks’ is incorrect and added that antisocial behaviour is generally by a group familiar with one another.

“The whole problem here in Northbridge is that there’s this assumption that if you come into Northbridge the chances of you getting bashed up is pretty high – and that’s the portrayal of Northbridge,” he said.

“[The video] appeared like there was a big brawl, but hardly anything happened really. Amongst all of that not one person shed anything, they just pushed each other around.”

Mr Keyt claims many late-night incidents can be put down to cultural misunderstandings.

“There is a higher number of Irish people in Northbridge at the moment. So they’re higher [in numbers], they’re young and they’re silly really,” he said.

“There are lots of people running establishments here and they don’t understand the English-Irish humour. The English-Irish humour is confrontational humour,” he said.

“When people don’t understand that humour, they get offended by it,” he said.

“If you know the humour, it’s easy to handle.”

He said some local business owners may have different views than his.


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Too many travellers arrive low on cash

An emigrant welfare group in Perth says too many backpackers are arriving in the city 'totally unprepared'.

An emigrant welfare group in Perth says too many backpackers are arriving in the city ‘totally unprepared’.

An emigrant welfare group in Perth has raised concerns that a growing number of Irish backpackers are arriving in Australia “totally unprepared”, after it was forced to bail out several penniless new arrivals.

The Claddagh Association of WA – a support group that assists people from the Irish community in times of crisis and trauma – says they have received five emergency calls in 10 days from male backpackers on the cusp of homelessness.

“We just had Christmas and New Year, and I think a lot of the backpackers have been having a good time,” Claddagh Association president Joan Ross says.

“Some of these backpackers have come to Australia totally unprepared, with not enough cash to last a month. One guy we met this week had a one-way ticket and a few hundred dollars to his name. He got work for cash-in-hand, but the guy didn’t pay him.

“He was going to be homeless unless we picked him up. We managed to get him a temporary job, and paid for a hostel, because there was no one else to do it. Sometimes a bit of a leg-up is all they need.”

The Claddagh Association consists of a group of volunteers and is dependent on the Irish government’s Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) for most of its funding.

Claddagh received $13,000 in emigrant funds in 2012. Additional funding was raised through donations.

Ms Ross said the support group would be distributing a resource pack on St Patrick’s Day, filled with advice for newly arrived backpackers.

“We need to get the word to Ireland that these issues and problems are building up here,” she said.

“We need to make them aware and make sure they are very prepared for when they get here. They think that WA is resource rich with plenty of jobs. They expect to come here on a Wednesday and have a job on Thursday.

“That’s not the case, because a lot of them do not have the skills they need. We need to get to them before they get on a plane to Australia.”

Ms Ross said preparation was key and urged those planning on moving to Australia to bring a return ticket, insurance and enough money to survive for at least a month.

“A lot of people live for today and don’t think that tomorrow exists,” she said.

“In many cases, it’s a lesson learnt. They say to themselves that they won’t get into this mess again.”


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Young Irish lining up for free meals at Perth soup kitchen

Young Irish backpackers are lining up alongside the homeless and the destitute at a Perth soup kitchen, it has emerged.

Young Irish backpackers are lining up alongside the homeless and the destitute at a Perth soup kitchen, it has emerged.

An Irish welfare group in Perth says it has “delving to do” following reports Irish nationals are queuing for food at a Northbridge soup kitchen.

Manna Inc, which serves 200 meals a night six nights a week from a soup kitchen at Weld Park, is seeing more backpackers joining their queues.

Bev Lowe, 72, co-founded the voluntary organisation with her husband John in 1996.

She said Manna serves three-course meals and the occasional treat – “food that sticks to your ribs” – from 5pm each night.

“There are a few Irish, I must admit,” said Ms Lowe, when asked who queues with the homeless each night.

“Well, when I’m on the street and I see them, I say ‘This meal is for homeless people, it’s obvious you’re not homeless, will you please step out of my line?’ And if they say no, I say to them, ‘You really don’t want me to embarrass you, do you? Step out. Now if I have meals at the end of the night, you’re welcome. But we feed the homeless first’. I think that’s a reasonable thing to say,” she said.

Ms Lowe said she can see that some backpackers experience problems, but it is important to her the Manna meals are served to the people they intend to feed.

“I do understand there are people who arrive in this country on the promise of a job or expecting to get a job and it fades away. And then they’re left high, dry and handsome.”

One Manna volunteer told the Irish Echo there were many backpackers coming into the park, and said their nationalities varied.

“Sometimes we do tell them ‘Look, this is for somebody who needs it’ and they say ‘We really need it’,” she said. “This happens every day and they stay in the queue. We don’t have a way of dealing with them.”

Joan Ross, of the Claddagh Association, said the organisation had just recently learned about the issue.

She said there was about 120 people at the soup kitchen when she and a fellow committee member visited Weld Park to talk to Manna volunteers last week.

“We asked did they often get Irish and they said last year there was an awful lot of young Irish people that queued up all the time for food. And this year, there’s not as many. It never came to our attention last year, but this year it has,” she said.

“I think we’ve a lot more delving to do into it, to see exactly what’s happening,” she said.

Ms Ross said many of the hostels in the area had inadequate kitchens to cater for backpackers.

A recent report by the City of Vincent – of which Irish-Australian Alannah MacTiernan is mayor – found that many hostels had poor conditions.

Ms MacTiernan told the West Australian newspaper in October last year that the problem was growing.

“It’s a real problem because the rents are so high and there is such a housing shortage that a lot of people – particularly migrants and visa holders – have to accept these appalling conditions,” she said.

Elsewhere, Rev Bill Crews of the Exodus Foundation in Sydney, which operates a food van in The Domain, says it faces similar issues to Manna.

“We estimate that about less than four per cent of the meals we give out are to backpackers,” he said.

“Often we’re really careful, we’ll say things like, ‘Look, mate, if you’re hungry and you’re a backpacker, get to the end of the queue and if there’s any left over, you can have it’.”



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Wexford man dies in Perth

Kenny Meyler (21) has died at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital in Perth.

Kenny Meyler (21) has died at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital in Perth.

A young Wexford man has died in Perth after suffering a stab wound to the neck last weekend.

Kenny Meyler, 21, from Wexford town, died just after midnight this morning.

Police arrived at a unit on Helmsley St, in the beachside suburb of Scarborough, at 2pm last Sunday after reports of several men fighting.

Following the incident, Mr Meyler was taken to hospital with a stab wound to the neck.

Mr Meyler’s mother and two relatives flew into Perth on Tuesday.

Detectives from Mirrabooka police station have charged Irish national Vincent Martin Crowe, 32, with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

He appeared before Perth Magistrates Court on Monday and has been remanded in custody to appear again on February 25.

A WA Police spokesperson told the Irish Echo that charges may be upgraded, pending the results of a post mortem.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are providing consular assistance to the family. Local emigrant welfare group The Claddagh Association are also supporting the family.



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