Tina Cahill sentenced to eight years in jail

 Tina Cahill and the man she killed, former fiance David Walsh

Tina Cahill and the man she killed, former fiance David Walsh

Tina Cahill has been jailed for stabbing her new fiance to death.

The Wexford woman stabbed David Walsh, 29, once in the neck in the early hours of February 18 last year, at the Sydney home they shared with two other Irish nationals.

The 27-year-old was originally charged with murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter based on substantial impairment due to an abnormality of the mind.

The couple were said to be in a volatile relationship involving aggression on both sides.

At the New South Wales Supreme Court on Wednesday, Cahill, known as Tina, was sentenced to eight years in jail, with a non-parole period of five years.

Her earliest release date will be in February 2022 when she is expected to be deported to Ireland.

Justice Peter Johnson told the court: "I am satisfied the psychiatric evidence supports the existence of significant depression on the part of the offender at the time of the killing which arose from the unusual and abusive relationship with Mr Walsh."

The fatal incident occurred when an intoxicated Mr Walsh launched an unprovoked attack on a man who had been invited into the home in Padstow, a suburb of Sydney, by Cahill and the two other female housemates after they met him at the pub.

Cahill, who also had been drinking, tried to stop the attack, before she took out a "large, very sharp" knife from the cutlery drawer and stabbed him.

At the time, she was on a good behaviour bond and the subject of an apprehended violence order issued to protect Mr Walsh, after she was convicted of recklessly wounding him with a glass candle holder in 2015.

Cahill gave evidence about his repeated violence, including punching strangers and biting her all over her body, and said he accused her of sleeping with other men and deleted texts from her phone.

The judge accepted her account of Mr Walsh's controlling and demeaning conduct, observing their marriage was "doomed to fail".

The Rocks to host St Patrick's Day festivities

 The Rocks area of Sydney.

The Rocks area of Sydney.

SYDNEY’S historic precinct The Rocks looks set to host the official community celebration of St Patrick’s Day in 2019.

The news was revealed at the recent sold-out Christmas Ball fundraiser at the Shangri-La Hotel.

The Irish Echo understands that the 2019 celebration will transform The Rocks into an Irish village with live music, stalls and family-friendly activities.

There are also plans for a children-focused parade from Circular Quay to Dawes Point Reserve and a citizenship event at which eligible Irish nationals can become Australian citizens.

The family friendly event will take place on St Patrick’s Day itself. which falls on a Sunday next March. The proposed move to The Rocks, which has yet to be finalised, marks a positive new direction for the volunteer-run event.

The Rocks is an area which is rich in Irish Australian history and includes one of the country’s best-known Irish pubs, The Mercantile.

Sydney has not staged a St Patrick’s Day Parade since 2014 when a rainstorm resulted in the event losing tens of thousands of dollars and facing possible financial ruin.

As a consequence, there was no official community celebration in 2015 but a determined fundraising effort resulted in the event returning in 2016.

The construction of the light rail and street closures in the city ruled out the possibility of a city parade and access to Hyde Park, which had hosted previous celebrations, had been lost.

So organisers moved the celebrations to Prince Alfred Park in Surry Hills. However, rain again forced the cancellation of the so-called Green Gathering. Then, last year, organisers moved the celebration to The Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park.

Sydney St Patrick’s Day Organisation president Karen Murphy said the committee was excited to share the news about The Rocks event.

“We have listened to the community and heard the desire to bring the celebrations back to the city,” Ms Murphy said. “And so, St. Patrick’s Day 2019 will see the return of a parade to the CBD.

“The Rocks has many historical links to the Irish community in Sydney, being one of the first places Irish people settled when they arrived in Australia.

“We want to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the area and its many associations with the Irish community.”

Sydney will one of the first cities in the world to celebrate St Patrick’s Day and the committee president said the new location will offer the opportunity to showcase the best of the harbour city.

“With the iconic backdrop of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, we hope it will be a magical day for all those who attend the celebrations,” Ms Murphy added.

Ireland failing returning emigrants, claim groups

 Returning emigrants, particularly those coming from outside the EU, continue to face discrimination and bureaucratic obstacles.

Returning emigrants, particularly those coming from outside the EU, continue to face discrimination and bureaucratic obstacles.

Irish citizens returning home from abroad are facing significant barriers to housing and social welfare, a government committee has heard.

Representatives from Safe Home, Cross Care and The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas say lack of knowledge, delays in administration and the current housing problems are plunging some returning emigrants into crisis situations. The committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade heard that many people are blocked from returning to Ireland because those with children or a partner from non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries like Australia are not automatically given a visa, and when applying for the visa from Ireland, the partner is not eligible to work.

Richard King, from Crosscare, said: “The reason a majority of people return is to be closer to family. They left Ireland after college and now want to come back to raise their family here, but this process acts as a deterrent and is difficult. One Irish citizen I dealt with in New Zealand is pregnant and cannot return home because they cannot survive if she and her partner cannot work for six months.”

It was noted that EU citizens who have a non-EEA partner do not face the same visa requirements, meaning returning Irish citizens have a “lesser” status than current EU citizens.

Another growing trend for returning emigrants being refused social welfare is because of lack of access to information on the Habitual Resident Condition. The Habitual Residence Condition (HRC) is a situation that you must satisfy in order to be eligible for most means-tested social welfare payments in Ireland.

Danielle McLaughlin from Cross Care said the people facing these issues are some of the most vulnerable returning home.

“In majority of these cases individuals face vulnerable situations with no income or family support,” she said. “Last year, we dealt with 280 queries and worked directly on 18 cases on HRC, and every case successfully appealed. There is a five- to nine-month long delay and those surveyed said the process was intimidating, demeaning, and made them feel guilty.”

She added that those dealing with the process said there was a lack of information on the process and that it was actively deterring emigrants from returning home.

Karen McHugh, from Safe Home Ireland, referred to one case of an Irish citizen returning to care for an elderly uncle who was turned down for carers allowance and not considered a habitual resident.

The committee’s chairman, Fianna Fáil’s Brendan Smith, said there was a totally unacceptable delay in carer allowances applications and said every committee member had faced similar issues with their own constituents.

The groups asked that the 30 recommendations in the Economic Report on Addressing Challenges Faced by Returning Irish Emigrants be acted upon because no time frame has been set, nor any productive action taken. They have also asked that provisions be made in the housing allocation system for returning emigrants, especially for elderly people.

Martin O'Neill leaves Irish job 'with heavy heart'

 Martin O’Neill’s five-year term as manager of the Republic Of Ireland has ended.

Martin O’Neill’s five-year term as manager of the Republic Of Ireland has ended.

Mick McCarthy is the front-runner in the race to replace Martin O'Neill as Republic of Ireland manager after his five-year reign came to an abrupt close.

O'Neill, assistant Roy Keane and their staff parted company with the Football Association of Ireland on Wednesday after its chief executive John Delaney had held talks with the 66-year-old in London on Tuesday evening.

The split had looked increasingly inevitable after a poor Nations League campaign which drew to a close with Monday night's 0-0 draw with Denmark in Aarhus, during which Ireland failed to muster a single shot on target.

In a statement released on his behalf by the League Manager's Association, O'Neill said: "I have had the great honour of managing the Republic of Ireland national football team for the past five years and it is with a heavy heart that I leave this role.

"It was one of my lifetime ambitions to take charge of the Irish senior squad and I would like to thank the FAI board for giving me that opportunity."

He continued: "Knowing that the past year would be a transitional phase for the squad, I have capped twelve new players in the last nine games, with the aim that they become significant international contributors in the coming campaign.

"To the players, I reserve great praise and admiration for the phenomenal commitment they have shown whilst wearing the Irish shirt."

O'Neill's departure from a contract which was due to expire after his side's involvement in Euro 2020 was confirmed in a statement from the FAI.

It read: "The board of the Football Association of Ireland have mutually agreed with Martin O'Neill to part company.

"The FAI board will meet promptly to discuss the process of recruiting a new manager."

Delaney was thrilled to unveil his "dream team" management duo in November 2013 and his faith in the pair was initially rewarded when they guided the Republic to the Euro 2016 finals and then to the play-offs for this summer's World Cup.

Delaney said: "I would like to thank Martin, Roy, and the management team for the impact that they had with the Ireland team. I wish Martin, and the management team, the very best for the future."

Poor results - Ireland have won just one of their last 11 games and have not scored in 397 minutes of football - and uninspiring performances in the last year have seen O'Neill and Keane's stock fall alarmingly.

And the boos which greeted the final whistle in last Thursday evening's 0-0 friendly draw with Northern Ireland at a sparsely-populated Aviva Stadium are understood to have brought matters to a head.

 Roy Keane also leaves his job as assistant manager to Martin O’Neill.

Roy Keane also leaves his job as assistant manager to Martin O’Neill.

The FAI is keen to make a swift appointment, with the draw for the Euro 2020 finals due to take place in Dublin on December 2, and, as one of the hosts, they do not want to be seen as presiding over a team in flux as Europe's great and good arrive in the city.

To that end, McCarthy, who took the Republic to the 2002 World Cup finals in the Far East during a previous spell in charge, represents an attractive proposition.

He has a proven track record, already has a relationship with the FAI hierarchy and, perhaps more importantly to a governing body still paying for the redevelopment of the Aviva Stadium, is available without the need to pay compensation after leaving Ipswich in April.

McCarthy is understood to be interested in the vacancy and would relish the opportunity to pick up the reins he surrendered in 2002 once again, although he has recently rejected approaches from two English clubs and remains in demand.

But, asked in 2016 if he could return to the Ireland job one day, he told the Irish Examiner: "If there's no manager in it and I'm out of work and someone asked me to do it, of course I'd do it."

McCarthy is by no means the only candidate, with Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Hibernian counterpart Neil Lennon having also been mentioned in dispatches, while Brighton boss Chris Hughton and Dundalk's Stephen Kenny would have popular support, although Hughton in particular appears more than content where he is.

O'Neill's departure may not have come as too much of a surprise, although he had grown increasingly defiant amid a tide of criticism.

Speaking after last month's 1-0 home defeat by Wales, which all but confirmed the Republic's relegation from Nations League B, the former Celtic manager insisted they would qualify for the Euro 2020 finals.

Asked why he was so optimistic, he replied: "Because I'm good."

Ireland World Cup favourites, says All Blacks coach

 Ireland’s delighted coach Joe Schmidt and captain Rory Best after the historic win.

Ireland’s delighted coach Joe Schmidt and captain Rory Best after the historic win.

Steve Hansen has installed Ireland as World Cup favourites following their 16-9 win over his New Zealand side in Dublin.

All Blacks boss Hansen hailed Ireland as the "number-one team in the world" following their superlative victory over his back-to-back world champions at the Aviva Stadium.

New Zealand retained their world number-one status despite losing to number-two side Ireland - but head coach Hansen had claimed before the clash that the winner would swipe the global bragging rights.

The All Blacks boss stuck to his word in the wake of Ireland's triumph, and even labelled Joe Schmidt's Ireland as the front-runners for next year's World Cup.

"As I said earlier in the week this was number one versus number two in the world," said Hansen.

"So as of now they are the number-one team in the world.

"So if you want to make them World Cup favourites, go ahead. I guess they are favourites."

 All Blacks coach Steve Hansen at the Aviva Stadium.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen at the Aviva Stadium.

Jacob Stockdale's 12th try in just 14 Tests sealed Ireland's second-ever victory over New Zealand, backing up their maiden win over the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016, the 40-29 triumph.

Ireland defended for their lives in the second-half and shut out the All Blacks, with the visitors tryless for the first time against a northern hemisphere nation since the 1995 clash with France.

Ireland boss Schmidt insisted afterwards however that All Blacks coach Hansen installing his men as World Cup favourites should be viewed as a cute ruse.

Asked if Hansen's words should be viewed as kidology, Schmidt said: "I think he probably enjoyed a little bit of banter.

"I've huge respect for Steve, Fozzy, and Scott MacLeod, their coaching staff.

"So for us to be favourites when they have been the world number-one team for nine years, and continue to be the world number-one team.

"We were at home, and they were coming off a long series of games where they have travelled around the world a number of times.

"I thought the crowd were phenomenal tonight. And that's a lot of things stacked in our favour.

"So we'll take tonight, and leave 11 months' time for 11 months' time."

Asked if Ireland are now World Cup favourites, Schmidt added: "The World Cup? In 12 months' time?

"We've got to work hard to make sure we're ready for the USA (next Saturday).

"People will I suppose postulate about who's where, who's favourite. It's a nebulous thing for us."

Thong protest goes viral after Cork rape acquittal

 Protestor Naoise Griffin Richardson in Dublin’s O’Connell St. Picture: Niall Carson/PA

Protestor Naoise Griffin Richardson in Dublin’s O’Connell St. Picture: Niall Carson/PA

Hundreds of people protested in Dublin city centre on Wednesday to highlight concerns over how rape trials are conducted in Ireland.

A recent case in Co Cork sparked outrage after a defence barrister referred to the 17 year-old complainant's underwear during the trial, in which a man was acquitted of rape.

Organised by a number of feminist organisations, demonstrators held up sets of underwear and signs that read "Stop victim blaming in courts" while chanting "Clothes are not consent".

People Before Profit TD Brid Smith told the crowd that they must organise and fight back against injustice.

"Consistently we see in court where women's bodies have been violated and women are made to feel like it's their fault," she said.

"Prejudice is at the heart of the system itself, no matter where you come from and who you accuse - there is a lack of justice in this country for women.

"This is a nasty unjust system - why are the government not bringing legislation forward to stop this happening in court?"

 Ruth Coppinger TD outside the Dáil where she raised the issue of victim blaming in rape trials.

Ruth Coppinger TD outside the Dáil where she raised the issue of victim blaming in rape trials.

The case was brought to wider public attention on Tuesday when Irish politician Ruth Coppinger held up a thong in the parliament chamber to highlight the outrage felt by some sections of the public.

"Why is nothing yet being done to stop the routine use of rape myths in trials, and how concerned is this Government about the chilling effect this is having on victims coming forward?" Ms Coppinger asked the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as she held the underwear aloft.

Present at the march, Ms Coppinger said it was clear young people will no longer stand by when they believe something is wrong.

"You're always a bit nervous when you do something like that in the Dáil because of the strict rules, but also I wasn't sure how it would go down. I wanted to do it with sensitivity" she said.

"I've been amazed at the response, a massive reaction.

"Normally you get some abuse, but the reaction has been incredibly positive.

"People are sickened by this type of society, sexism, racism or whatever is used to divide people and people are anxious to change that.

"It's reflective of the last five years in Ireland. It's been building, changing attitudes towards the position of women in society, particularly among young people.

"The idea that this could happen in 2018, that what you wear somehow justifies any kind of sexual violence, it's backward."

A popular social media campaign was sparked by the fall-out from the case with women from Ireland and abroad posting pictures of their underwear with the hashtag #Thisisnotconsent.

'I thought he was going to change', says accused killer

 David Walsh and his killer, former fiancee Cathrina Cahill who is now awaiting sentencing.

David Walsh and his killer, former fiancee Cathrina Cahill who is now awaiting sentencing.

A Wexford woman who killed her fiance in Sydney has told a judge she did not leave the "controlling and fairly unpleasant" man as she loved him dearly.

David Walsh said he would change but would revert back to his bad behaviour, Cathrina Cahill, 27, told her sentencing hearing.

She was giving evidence on Tuesday in the New South Wales Supreme Court after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Walsh, who she stabbed once in the neck in the early hours of February 18, 2017, at their home in Padstow, south-west of Sydney.

"I honestly thought he was going to change. He was someone I did love and adore," she told the court.

Cahill, whose guilty plea was based on diminished responsibility due to an abnormality of the mind, previously gave evidence about repeated violence by Mr Walsh.

This included punching strangers and biting her all over her body, while he also accused her of her sleeping with other men and deleted texts from her phone, the court heard.

She had packed her bags many times to leave him, but Mr Walsh would tell her everything was going to be different, Cahill told the court.

She said: "He would be making me dinner, buying me flowers, buying me a teddy bear, but after two to three weeks it would go back to the way it was."

She agreed with Justice Peter Johnson that her evidence revealed a "pretty stormy relationship" and that Mr Walsh might be seen to be a "controlling and fairly unpleasant person".

But she said she stayed with him as she "loved him very dearly".

The fatal attack occurred when an intoxicated Mr Walsh launched an unprovoked attack on a man invited into the home by Cahill and the two other female housemates.

Cahill, who also had been drinking, was punched by her fiance when trying to stop the attack, before she took out a "large, very sharp, bladed knife" from the cutlery drawer and stabbed him.

Cahill's barrister James Trevallion said there was no evidence his client had ever struck Mr Walsh without any provocation and noted she was smaller than him.

He submitted she had no intention to kill, the stabbing had involved a single blow and Mr Walsh was the one who initiated the violence.

Justice Johnson, who said the case involved "unusual features" such as a "type of two-way domestic violence", will sentence Cahill on December 12.

Working holidays can now stretch to three years

 Regional farm work is key to extending your working holiday visa.

Regional farm work is key to extending your working holiday visa.

The Australian Government has announced changes to the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa which will allow backpackers to stay in the country for up to three years.

The changes, which came into force on November 5, come on the back of a relaxation of the age limits for Irish and Canadian WHM applicants who are now eligible up to the age of 35.

The more recent changes to the WHM visa program include:

• Increasing the period in which subclass 417 and 462 visa holders can stay with the same agricultural (plant and animal cultivation) employer, from 6 to 12 months and

• The option of a third-year for subclass 417 and 462 visa holders who, after July 1, 2019, undertake six months of specified work in a specified regional area during their second year.

According to the Australian government, the changes have been introduced to “provide farmers with immediate access to workers in key parts of regional Australia”.

Employers will be able to retain trained and experienced employees doing agricultural work for up to twelve months, rather than the previous six.

This work includes harvesting and/or packing of fruit and vegetables; pruning or trimming vines and trees; crop work; processing of plant products; maintaining farm animals as well as shearing, butchery, packing and tanning work.

Currently, WHMs can remain in the country for up to two years on that visa.

My fiance bullied and threatened me, killer tells court

 Cathrina Cahill, who killed her fiance David Walsh in February, 2017.

Cathrina Cahill, who killed her fiance David Walsh in February, 2017.

An Irish woman who killed her fiance in Sydney has told a judge of his repeated violence, including punching strangers and biting her all over her body, and how he accused her of sleeping with other men.

Cathrina Cahill said she could not look at other men when she was out with David Walsh, nor could she look in the mirror when driving as there might be a male driver behind. If she did, she said Mr Walsh would say: "I hope you got a good look, slut".

The 27-year-old was giving evidence in the New South Wales Supreme Court on Friday at her sentencing hearing for the manslaughter of Mr Walsh, 29, who was stabbed once in the neck in the early hours of February 18, 2017 at their home.

The couple shared the property in Padstow, south west of Sydney, with two other Irish nationals. Cahill, from Wexford, was originally charged with murder but the Crown accepted her plea to the less serious charge on the basis of substantial impairment due to an abnormality of the mind at the time.

When asked about the death by her barrister James Trevallion, she said: "There is not a day that goes by when I don't think about David's family. I loved him so much. He told me no matter what I did I would never get away from him and if I ever got with anybody else he would make my life hell."

She testified that Mr Walsh blocked people from her Facebook account, deleted texts and numbers from her phone and was convinced she was having an affair with her boss. He would come to her work to wait for her and make a gesture - which she demonstrated in court - of running a finger across his throat, she said.

 David Walsh was violent and possessive according to his former fiancee Cathrina Cahill.

David Walsh was violent and possessive according to his former fiancee Cathrina Cahill.

Cahill told the judge of a string of incidents when Mr Walsh punched men - including his friend, Paul Mulligan, who had just arrived to stay at their house.

"I was in my bedroom and David came and out of nowhere started accusing me of being with Paul Mulligan which was totally untrue," she told the court. "David came out and just hit Paul", who then moved out.

The court was told of an incident when Cahill was with a female friend at a hotel when a man started talking to the other woman.

"David came in and hit the guy so hard he landed on the floor," she said. "He said 'he won't look at my missus again'."

Mr Walsh punched numerous holes in the house walls, threw a glass bottle through a new TV and "would constantly break things in the house", the court heard.

He would grab her face "and constantly bite me, that was his thing", she said.

A former housemate testified that she saw Cahill stab Mr Walsh in the back of his head on October 3, 2015. But Cahill said they had argued in their bedroom and she went to the door, but he blocked it and had a knife in his hand. She went to grab it, he ran out and she cut the back of his head with the knife, the court heard.

Prosecutor Nanette Williams suggested Cahill was lying because she knew the housemate's evidence was very "damning" about her purposefully going downstairs to get the knife and attack her partner in the head.

"That isn't true," Cahill replied.

The hearing will continue on November 9 before Justice Peter Johnson, who said he expected to sentence Cahill before December 14.

Court hears evidence of Irish woman's violent past

 Cathrina Cahill has admitted to killing her former fiance David Walsh.

Cathrina Cahill has admitted to killing her former fiance David Walsh.

A newly-engaged Irish woman who has admitted killing her fiance in Sydney stabbed him in the back of the head more than 18 months before his death, a judge has been told.

Former housemate Isobel Jennings testified that the couple were arguing before she saw Cathrina Cahill come up the stairs with her hand behind her back and then suddenly stab David Walsh in the head three or four times.

Ms Jennings was giving evidence on Thursday at the New South Wales Supreme Court sentencing hearing of Cahill, from Wexford.

Cahill, 27, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to the manslaughter of Mr Walsh, 29, on the basis of substantial impairment.

She had originally been charged with murder but the charge was downgraded.

Cahill, who is known as Tina, admitted unlawfully killing Mr Walsh - who was also from Wexford - between February 17 and 18 last year in the suburb of Padstow.

She gave psychiatrists a history of being in a traumatic relationship with Mr Walsh, hallmarked by physical, emotional and verbal abuse over a period of time.

Under cross-examination from Cahill's barrister, James Trevallion, Ms Jennings denied lying about the incident in which she said Cahill had stabbed Mr Walsh in October 2015.

The court was told Cahill was charged with one count of reckless wounding of Mr Walsh in relation to him being injured after she threw a large candle at him in November 2015.

She was convicted of the offence in her absence and placed on a two-year bond in April 2016 at Waverley Local Court.

According to the agreed statement of facts, the couple argued on the night of February 17 2017 when they were drinking with others.

They parted, before Cahill, two female friends and Matthew Hyde, a man they had socialised with at one of the pubs, arrived back at the Padstow address where Mr Walsh was either asleep or partially asleep on a couch.

Soon after, Mr Walsh repeatedly attacked Mr Hyde wanting to know who he was and, during the ensuing chaos, Cahill screamed: "Stop it Davey, get off, get off ... he's with Grace."

She tried to get a grip of her fiance's arms when he swung his arm back and she fell to the ground, the facts said.

She moved towards him and punched him in the face with a closed fist, before Mr Walsh pushed her again and tried to punch her in the face.

Eventually, "the offender opened and closed the cutlery drawer quickly taking out a large, very sharp, bladed knife".

One witness said over and over again "put it back" but Cahill replied: "No, he needs to be taught a lesson. It's not fair. Look at poor Matthew."

The hearing is continuing before Justice Peter Johnson.

Working holiday visa age limit increased to 35


From today, the reciprocal age limit for Irish and Australian citizens to get a Working Holiday visa has been increased to 35.

Before today, applicants had to be no more than 30 years old to get a ‘backpacker’ visa.

The increased age limit for Australia in only available to Irish and Canadian citizens.

Australia’s Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the new arrangements will strengthen Australia's close and long standing ties with Ireland.

"Both Canada and Ireland have been part of Australia's Working Holiday Maker program since it began in 1975, so it is fitting that they are the first countries to become eligible for the extended age range," Mr Coleman said.  "Last year, more than 16,000 citizens from Canada and Ireland were granted Working Holiday visas for Australia, with many of them living and working in regional and rural areas during their stay."

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the change would “not only allow a more diverse group of people to avail of this scheme, but also help to strengthen those links between our two countries even further”.

Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan, who is visiting Australia on official business, added: “Since the Working Holiday Programme began in 1975, it is estimated that more than 275,000 young Irish people have spent up to two years in Australia under this scheme. In 2017 alone, some 8,653 visas were issued to Irish citizens under the Working Holiday Programme. The agreement to extend the age eligibility on a reciprocal basis underscores the wide-reaching success of this programme to date.”

The Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) is a temporary visa for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year. You must be outside Australia when you apply for your first Working Holiday visa and when the visa is decided. If you apply for a second Working Holiday visa, you must be in Australia when the visa is granted. If you apply outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when the visa is granted. You can generally only work six months with one employer but many Irish nationals use the visa as a stepping stone for employer sponsorship and eventually, permanent migration.


A victory for hope over fear, says re-elected president

 President Michael D Higgins and his family celebrate his re-election.

President Michael D Higgins and his family celebrate his re-election.

Michael D Higgins has welcomed his re-election as president of Ireland as a vote for hope over fear.

The 77-year-old poet, professor and campaigner secured his second term in office with a landslide margin of more than 55% of the vote.

Speaking in Dublin Castle after he was re-elected, Mr Higgins said: "The people have made a choice as to which version of Irishness they want reflected at home and abroad.

"It is the making of hope they wish to share rather than the experience of any exploitation of division or fear."

He said his version of Ireland is one which draws on traditional genius and contemporary creativity.

"The presidency belongs not only to any one person but to the people of Ireland.

"I will be a president for all the people, for those who voted for me and those who did not.

"I am so proud of this country, I am proud to be a president for all of you and with all of you, and I look forward with joy and hope to all that we will achieve together."

Mr Higgins, who has served at almost every level of politics, is a fluent Irish speaker and a long-time campaigner for equality.

He made history in 2014 when he became the first Irish president to undertake an official state visit to the UK.

There were loud cheers as the father-of-four embraced friends and supporters as he celebrated his victory.

Ireland's premier Leo Varadkar hailed Mr Higgins's re-election as an "historic victory".

"You secured 822,566 first preference votes which is the highest first preference vote by any candidate," he said.

"That is an extraordinary endorsement of the last seven years of your presidency and a really strong mandate for the next term of office over the next seven years."

Businessman Peter Casey, initially an outside contender whose last-minute surge in the polls following critical comments about the Travelling community saw him propelled into second place, got 23% of the vote.

In his speech, Peter Casey congratulated President Higgins.

"It's been amazing, it's been a real experience the past six weeks or so," he said.

"I'd like to congratulate President Higgins and wish Sabina a wonderful seven years.

"I'm sure the sentiments you described so wonderfully there, I'm sure they are shared by everyone here - wishing you all the very, very best."

Gavin Duffy, who gained just 2% of the votes, said: "Was I disappointed? Yes. Did I have regrets? No."

Sinn Fein faced a disappointing result, with candidate Liadh Ni Riada gaining half of the support achieved by the late Martin McGuinness in 2011.

After receiving 6% of the vote, she said it was important the election was held, rather than allowing Mr Higgins to return to office unchallenged.

"The people of Ireland spoke today and spoke with a resounding yes to put Michael D Higgins back in office," she said, congratulating the president.

Mrs Ni Riada also said she hopes voters in Northern Ireland would soon be able to vote in Irish presidential elections. A referendum on the issue is anticipated next year.

In her speech, Joan Freeman, who received 6% of the vote, singled out the president's wife Sabina.

"I'm so happy for you Sabina," she said.

"The people who voted for me - thank you for that."

In the longest speech of any of the defeated candidates, Sean Gallagher, who gained around 6% of the vote, expressed pride in the campaign he and his team had run.

"Together we put forward ideas that can shape the future and today is not the end of those ideas," he said.

Mr Higgins has long championed an ethical Republic and has repeatedly addressed issues surrounding memory, commemoration, identity and the conflicting traditions on the island.

The refugee crisis in Europe and the plight of migrants has been a favourite topic, as well as the importance of the arts and Ireland's great literary tradition.