Sydney

Missing Irish teenager located 'safe and well' in Victoria

The police-issued CCTV image of the missing girl, who has been found

The police-issued CCTV image of the missing girl, who has been found

The young Irish woman who went missing from Randwick on July 13 has been found "safe and well".

Following an investigation by police from Eastern Beaches Police Area Command, the woman was found in Victoria. No further details have been released.

The Irish teenager was previously named by NSW Police as Katie Cash.

At the time she was last seen, she was 38-weeks pregnant and officers attached to Eastern Beaches Police Area Command had grave concerns for her welfare.

Katie was described as being of Caucasian appearance, of thin build, with short dark hair, green/hazel eyes and a scar on the right side of her forehead. She was last seen wearing a grey top, grey and white floral pants and no shoes.

NSW Police have thanked the community and the media for their assistance. 

Pregnant Irish teenager vanishes in Sydney

Katie Cash was last seen on Friday, July 13 in Sydney.

Katie Cash was last seen on Friday, July 13 in Sydney.

Concern is growing for missing Sydney Irish teenager Katie Cash.

NSW Police are appealing for public assistance to help locate Ms Cash who was last seen leaving a hospital on Barker St, Randwick, just before 3pm on Friday July 13.

At the time she was last seen, Katie was 38-weeks pregnant and officers attached to Eastern Beaches Police Area Command hold grave concerns for her welfare.

Ms Cash may also go by another name.

Katie is described as being of Caucasian appearance, of thin build, with short dark hair, green/hazel eyes and a scar on the right side of her forehead. She was last seen wearing a grey top, grey and white floral pants and no shoes.

Anyone with information or knows Kate’s whereabouts is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.

Singing Oisín's papal performance with esteemed choir

Members of the St Mary's Cathedral Choir. Oisín O'Sullivan is second from right. Picture: Catholic Weekly

Members of the St Mary's Cathedral Choir. Oisín O'Sullivan is second from right. Picture: Catholic Weekly

IF there’s a sure-fire way to impress your Irish granny, it’s to sing for the Pope.

Oisín O’Sullivan’s Killarney grandma has been bursting with pride since he sang for Pope Francis with his fellow choristers from Australia’s oldest choir on Pentecost Sunday.

The 12-year-old has been a member of Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral Choir for four years and said the performance in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome was “the biggest thing we’ve ever done”.

“It was really exciting,” he said.

“I was trying to focus on the music, but in the background I was thinking about how cool it was.”

Oisín said the Pontiff, who was standing only 10m away, was humble.

“I thought he’d be sort of like royalty but he seemed really down to earth.”

The Papal Mass was the highlight of three-weeks of performances in France, Brussels and Italy to celebrate 200 years since the choir was founded by Dubliner Catherine Fitzpatrick.

In total, 32 young scholarship students from St Mary’s Cathedral College and 11 adult singers performed.

Oisín and his dad, Pádraig O'Sullivan on the tour.

Oisín and his dad, Pádraig O'Sullivan on the tour.

The performance was broadcast to millions around the world.

Oisín’s father Pádraig O’Sullivan is from Killarney and has been in Sydney for 23 years.

He said both the Australian and Irish sides of the family were thrilled by the youngster’s accomplishments – especially his grandmother Breda O’Sullivan in Muckross.

Mr O’Sullivan said all the choirboys had worked extremely hard to earn the amazing trip. 

In an average week, the singers  rehearse and perform for 10-plus hours, before and after school and on Sundays.

Extra rehearsals will also take place in preparation for a special anniversary Mass in August that will be attended by descendents of the choir’s Irish founder. 

Mrs Fitzpatrick was a school teacher who voluntarily came to Australia after her husband Bernard was sentenced to transportation for embezzlement.

She trained a small group of singers, including her own sons, to sing for the first Catholic services in the colony.

As Sydney grew, they became the choir of the first St Mary’s church and eventually the St Mary’s Cathedral Choir. Mrs Fitzpatrick was the choir director for many years.

Melbourne resident Neill Fitzpatrick discovered he was the great-great-great grandson of Catherine Fitzpatrick when he was researching his family tree last year and was impressed by his talented ancestor.

“She was a woman well in advance of her time because she was highly educated and a school teacher,” he said.

“She was either very naïve or very courageous to come out in 1811 as a free settler with two young sons, the youngest of which was less than one year old.

”From what I’ve read of her sons’ letters they were very, very proud of her. She was the anchor that kept the family together.”

Mr Fitzpatrick joked that singing is one family talent hasn’t been passed down the generations.

“I can’t sing at all,” he said with a laugh.

Historic hurling clash to headline new festival

The hurlers of Kilkenny and Galway will go head to head at Sydney's Olympic Park.

The hurlers of Kilkenny and Galway will go head to head at Sydney's Olympic Park.

SYDNEY’S Olympic Park has hosted many memorable sporting battles but this November it will stage a truly unique event – a hurling game between National League champions Kilkenny and All-Ireland winners Galway.

The game is part of the huge 2018 Magners Sydney Irish Festival and the hurlers will be joined by some stellar musicians including Mary Black, Lúnasa and Damien Dempsey who are performing at a sunset concert.

Events boss Paul Sergeant said the festival wiill be an action-packed two-day celebration of all things Irish at the Sydney Showground.

 “There was so much to build a festival around,” said Mr Sergeant who is organising the event with the GAA.

“There’ve been lots of great things that have taken place around St Patrick’s Day and other Irish festivals. What is unique about this is it is bringing the sporting component at a top level,” he said.

The festival opens on Saturday, November 10 with children’s activities, hurling clinics, Irish dance and music performances, food and drink and carnival rides.

One of the quirkier events is a Guinness World Record attempt for the biggest Irish stew. They’re aiming to make a whopping 20,000 portions.

“The key part of that is when the stew is cooked it would be donated to the homeless,” Mr Sergeant said.

Damien Dempsey is among the confirmed performers for the Sydney Irish Festival.

Damien Dempsey is among the confirmed performers for the Sydney Irish Festival.

At sunset, there’ll be the huge concert with hugely popular homegrown stars Mary Black, Damien Dempsey, Lunasa and Saint Sister.

The second day of the festival will kick off with a Big Irish Brunch before the big hurling game, which has been two years in the planning.

It all came about when Mr Sergeant, who had just set up his own events company, bumped into his friend,  GAA commercial director Peter McKenna, at a conference.

The GAA had just successfully staged a shortened ‘Super-11’ style hurling game between Dublin and Galway in Boston and Mr McKenna suggested it could work in Australia.

During the search for suitable venues they realised that Spotless Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park would allow for a full-size, competitive game rather than just an exhibition match. Mr Sergeant reckons even Aussie spectators will become hurling fans after seeing Galway and Kilkenny compete for the first Wild Swans trophy.

“I think they’ll really take to it,” he said.“Certainly the combative and physical nature of the sport really fits into the Australian psyche.”

The GAA will be picking up the tab for the players’ flights to Australia and the game will be broadcast live on RTÉ. Former Sydney Swan player and current development coach Tadhg Kennelly is one of the festival ambassadors and is, of course, excited about the hurling.

“To have the game I grew up with showcased in Australia at an elite and competitive level is really exciting,” the 2005 Premiership winner said.

He’s planning on bringing his three kids – Maggie, 4, James, 2 and five-month-old Hugh – to the festival to enjoy a taste of Irish culture.

“I’ve already got my four-year-old doing Irish dancing. She loves it,” he told the Irish Echo.

Organisers hope to attract about 40,000 people over the course of the weekend.

For more information, click here.

Senator's daughter is Sydney's Rose of Tralee

2018 Sydney Rose of Tralee Caitlin Macinante

2018 Sydney Rose of Tralee Caitlin Macinante

If newly-selected Sydney Rose Of Tralee Caitlin Macinante needs any tips on what the role involves, she need look no further than her own mum.

Ms Macinante was chosen from 16 hopefuls at last night's Sydney Rose Of Tralee selection ball in front of a full house at the Hyatt Regency Darling Harbour.

The 26-year-old business development manager, who lives in Newcastle, is a daughter of federal Labor Senator for NSW Deborah O'Neill, who represented Sydney at the Rose Of Tralee back in 1980.

The family's Irish heritage comes via Caitlin's maternal grandmother, who hails from Co Kilkenny and her maternal grandfather, who comes from Cork.

Ms Macinante is currently studying for a Bachelor of Education degree via correspondence and is passionate about inclusive schooling and equity among learners. Caitlin also sings and plays both guitar and piano.  

Senator Deborah O'Neill with Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese.

Senator Deborah O'Neill with Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese.

Excluded voters keen to be heard

Supporting a ‘yes’ vote: Christine Howell, Shauna Stanley, Gary Hansell, organiser Lizzie O'Shea, Pam Lowe, Jimmy Yan and Grace Carroll at Melbourne’s Drunken Poet.

Supporting a ‘yes’ vote: Christine Howell, Shauna Stanley, Gary Hansell, organiser Lizzie O'Shea, Pam Lowe, Jimmy Yan and Grace Carroll at Melbourne’s Drunken Poet.

Almost all Irish citizens living in Australia are not allowed to vote in the referendum on abortion. Irish diplomatic staff can but that's about it.

The vote, on May 25, will ask people to consider repealling the 8th amendment, which prohibits abortion in almost all circumstances.

But a series of events have been held in Sydney and Melbourne advocating for a ‘yes’ vote. 

Diaspora Downunder Dollars for Choice (#ddd4c) is a campaign aiming for 30 events around Australia to fundraise for Together for Yes.

Convenor of the Irish Pro Choice group Shauna Stanley said it was frustrating that expats “cannot get our voices heard at the ballot box” but “we can contribute some of our hard-earned Australian dollars to give the Together for Yes campaign every chance for success”.

DDD4C has received pledges from all around Australia, including themed parties, events and a pub quiz at Melbourne’s Drunken Poet pub.

“We have had an amazing response, with lots of creative ideas from supporters all over the country. It’s been hugely inspiring to see this kind of grassroots organising. 

“Irish people always love good craic, but have shown themselves to be extra keen to get on board for this cause,” Stanley said.  

Louise Nealon, Ann Marie Crotty and Loretta Cosgrove at the Sydney fundraiser for the Yes campaign at 34Bia in Redfern, Sydney.

Louise Nealon, Ann Marie Crotty and Loretta Cosgrove at the Sydney fundraiser for the Yes campaign at 34Bia in Redfern, Sydney.

“This has a movement led by women organising to demand their rights, against a well-funded anti-choice lobby. We may be 20,000 kilometres away, but we can feel the international reach of the sisterhood,” said Stanley.

Fellow campaigner Elaine Arnold said “We wanted to [find] a way of collectively contributing towards positive progression in Ireland.”

Supporters of a ‘yes’ vote also gathered at the Irish-owned 34 Bia restaurant last weekend for a fundraiser. Organised by Louise Nealon and Ann Marie Crotty, tickets included a full Irish breakfast and a donation to the Together for Yes campaign in Ireland.  Ticket sales and raffle raised more than $2000.

O'Donovan brothers for Sydney

odonovanbrothers.jpg

Champion rowers Gary O'Donovan (right) and Paul O'Donovan (left) celebrate winning silver in the Lightweight Men's Double Sculls Final at the Rio Olympic Games. Picture: MIke Egerton

IRELAND’S popular Olympic medallists of two years ago Gary and Paul O’Donovan are coming to Australia.

The brothers are taking part in the Sydney International Rowing Regatta, an event that attracts elite athletes from around the world.

They will be joined by Mark O’Donovan (no relation) and Shane O’Driscoll, who are world champions. Gary and Paul O’Donovan, from Lisheen near Skibbereen in West Cork, took silver behind France in the lightweight double sculls, winning Ireland’s first rowing medal at the Olympics.

Along with Annalise Murphy’s silver in sailing, these were Ireland’s only medals of the Rio games. However, Gary and Paul came to prominence for their hilarious interviews as much as their athletic success, with people all over the globe warming to their personalities, broad accents and quirky humour.

Talking in Rio, they discussed their steak diet, the awkwardness of doping tests and missing out on the party for their triumph back home. The brothers have even been invited onto Graham Norton’s celebrity chat show with their motto “pull like a dog” finding its way into the vernacular.

Last year, the brothers won silver in men’s lightweight double sculls at the European Rowing Championships. They also won silver at the second World Rowing Cup regatta of the season in Poland in June and bronze at the third in July.

In September 2017, at the World Rowing Championships in Florida, Paul O’Donovan won gold at the lightweight men’s single sculls.

Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll, also from Skibbereen, took gold in both the 2017 European and World Championships in lightweight coxless pairs.

The Irish quartet have been preparing in New Zealand where they have been competing in the national rowing championships at Lake Karapiro where Paul O’Donovan took bronze in the single sculls and the foursome also took bronze in the Premier Four.

The Sydney International Rowing Regatta takes place at Penrith in the western suburbs of Sydney from March 19 to 25. To find out more, click here.

Injured Belfast-man's 'remarkable' recovery

Michael Hyndman in Sydney before his injury. 

Michael Hyndman in Sydney before his injury. 

THE family of Belfast man Michael Hyndman, who was left in an induced coma after he suffered a "devastating blow" to the head in Sydney on New Year's Eve have told of his "remarkable" recovery.

"Michael remains in hospital in Sydney, where his rehabilitation is progressing well," his brother Barry said this week. "He is fully conscious and fully mobile." 

Surgery to repair his skull has however had to be delayed due to an infection.

"The team of doctors caring for Michael, informed him that the piece of his skull that was in storage and due to be reinserted had unfortunately become infected," Barry Hyndman said. "Michael was indeed very lucky that this was picked up on before the scheduled operation, or the outcome could have been so much worse. We are very thankful for that.

While awaiting surgery and after passing rehabilitation tests, Michael has been allowed to leave hospital on a 48 hour release. Barry Hyndman paid tribute to the team of medics who have cared for his brother since the start of the year.

"They have made it their priority to ensure Michael remains with us today and that he continues to make adequate progress. We daren’t think where Michael would be without their dedication, commitment and expertise and will never be able to repay them for all they have done for him," he said on a GoFundMe page set up to help defray medical costs.

Mr Hyndman, who is a quantity surveyor, moved to Australia in September with his fiancée Clar.

However on New Year’s Eve his family at home were told he was in hospital after sustaining a head injury in an altercation in Sydney.

Fearing for his life, relatives flew out to be by his bedside.

The 23-year-old, who had been due to start training with Craobh Phadraigh GAA club, was placed in an induced coma.

He later underwent surgery to remove part of his skull to reduce pressure on his brain.

Mr Hyndman was later moved out of intensive care and on to a ward specialising in neurological rehabilitation.

 

Tyrone man, 22, dies after Sydney motorbike accident

Tiarnan Rafferty, 22, died following a motorcycle accident in Sydney.

Tiarnan Rafferty, 22, died following a motorcycle accident in Sydney.

A motorcyclist from Co Tyrone has died in hospital following a crash at Marrickville, in Sydney's Inner West, on Sunday.

Emergency services were called to the intersection of Sydenham Rd and Malakoff St just before 2pm, after reports of a crash between a motorcycle and a car.

The rider, 22-year-old Tiarnan Rafferty from Galbally, was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics and taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in a critical condition, where he died.

His devastated mother is prominent Tyrone republican Sharon Jordan, according to The Irish News. His grieving father Damien Rafferty is also well known in the east Tyrone area.

A spokeswoman for New South Wales Police said the driver of the car was not injured and that "she was taken to hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing."

Mr Rafferty, a former pupil at St Ciaran's College in Ballygawley, worked in the construction industry after moving to Australia in recent years.

It is understood he returned home at Christmas for a five-week holiday before returning to Australia.

Donaghmore parish priest Fr Gerard McAleer told the Irish News the local community has been left stunned by Mr Rafferty's death.

“I heard he was a lovely young fellow and this has come as a great shock to everyone in the community,” he said.

Colin Bell from the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust said the charity is helping to return Mr Rafferty's remains to his family but cautioned it may take several days.

“From Australia it could be anything up to ten days,” he said.

“We will try to bring him home as soon as possible.”

Kilkenny man honoured on Australia Day

John Kinsella (above) at Manila Hospital where Operation Restore Hope (International NGO) are operating on underprivileged children and teenagers with cleft palate. 

John Kinsella (above) at Manila Hospital where Operation Restore Hope (International NGO) are operating on underprivileged children and teenagers with cleft palate. 

A TOP Irish Australian businessman and philanthropist says he is “truly humbled” after being honoured in this year’s Australia Day awards for his charity work with Cambodian children.

John Kinsella, originally from Co Kilkenny, was appointed a member of the Order of Australia. In 1988, he and his brother William co-founded the Billbergia Group, now one of the biggest developers of waterfront apartments in Sydney.

“You need a bit of luck in life, and I think we’ve been quite lucky in that side of things,” said Mr Kinsella who left school at the age of 12.

“When things have gone well, you have to give back too.” It was a small newspaper article about a struggling Cambodian orphanage that spurred him into action 13 years ago. He founded Hope for Cambodian Children with a few likeminded people. The community-based charity has now helped more than 1000 vulnerable children through healthcare and educational projects, and by providing basic housing.

Mr Kinsella, who visits the charity in Battambang every couple of months said there are “lots of success stories”.

“We’ve got kids starting at university; kids who are motor mechanics, hairdressers and beauticians,” said the developer who also supports a charity in the Philippines. “It’s good to be able to help give someone a hand up….But it’s all

into making it work.” His own success is testament to the power of hard work, entrepreneurship and, as he frequently stresses, luck. After leaving school at 12 despite coming top in his exams, he worked on the family dairy farm outside Kilkenny’s Mooncoin.

His first came Down Under in 1976 when he won a young farmers’ scholarship to work on New Zealand farms. But it was Australia that took his fancy and he emigrated here in 1985. The enterprising Kilkenny man found plenty of work on building sites around Sydney. He soon became a sub-contractor after buying some equipment. Within a few years, he had joined forces with his brother William who’d followed him to Australia and they were sub-contracting civil construction projects around NSW.

“We brought the sewers to the country towns,” he said. But those jobs involved a lot of travel and Billbergia moved into residential property after John married his wife Riezel and they started a family. “The boss didn’t like me being away so much,” he said with a laugh.

(Left) John Kinsella with his family (from left to right) John Kinsella Jnr, John Kinsella Snr, Thomas Kinsella, Joseph Kinsella and mum Riezel Kinsella.

(Left) John Kinsella with his family (from left to right) John Kinsella Jnr, John Kinsella Snr, Thomas Kinsella, Joseph Kinsella and mum Riezel Kinsella.

The couple’s three sons are now grown up and Billbergia is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary. He said his work colleagues have been teasing him about his Australia Day honour. “You know what it’s like in construction,” he said. “Today they were asking me ‘should we bow?’.”

Mr Kinsella will be formally presented with the award later this year.

Blissful Riot brings Irish party to Sydney Festival

Ireland's much-loved drag queen Panti Bliss.

Ireland's much-loved drag queen Panti Bliss.

Ireland's best known drag queen and gay rights activist Panti Bliss is coming to Australia with a show that combines drag, dance, circus and comedy.
RIOT is a spectacle that boasts an all-star Irish cast and sold every ticket available at 2016 Dublin Fringe, won Best Production and broke box-office records. Panti and RIOT coming to Sydney Festival and Arts Centre Melbourne is particularly apt following the recent same sex marriage vote here.
The self-described accidental activist played a major role in the successful referendum campaign for Marriage Equality in Ireland.
"I was following it very closely," Panti told The Irish Echo of the recent postal plebiscite. "It was a slightly odd experience to be watching it from Ireland because, having gone through the exact same excruciating debate in the run up to our referendum on marriage equality, we knew exactly what you were going through and how emotionally draining it could be.
"And it was also a bit like going back in time watching it all unfold, because the exact same arguments were being made - sometimes word for word! - that we had heard ad nauseam in 2015.

Panti Bliss says she was emotional over Australia's decision to legalise same sex marriage.

Panti Bliss says she was emotional over Australia's decision to legalise same sex marriage.


"Like many interested members of the LGBTI community here, I watched the results live on the internet and it was quite emotional! Reliving the joy and relief we felt in Ireland as we heard the results of our own vote."
 Rooted in the Irish traditions of poetry, oratory, Irish dance and song, then deconstructed using musical, electro, striptease, drag and pop culture, RIOT is a theatrical gut-punch. It is a love letter of hope to the future and a clarion call on the state of the world today.
Panti is well known to Australian audiences. Her 2016 one-woman-show High Heels in Low Places racked up stellar reviews and packed houses in Australia as well as Ireland, UK, Europe and USA.
Is she looking forward to getting back down under? "Am I?! Does Pauline Hanson make poor fashion choices??
I'm lucky enough to get to go to Australia most years and, even better, usually during our looooong Irish winter! It's so nice to get away to Aussie sun just as I'm getting totally fed up of the cold and damp, and by the time I get back, the winter is nearly over! But this year, after the Yes vote, I'm looking forward to it even more than usual."
 Joining Panti on stage are Street Performance World Champions and unlikely heroes of Britain’s Got Talent, The Lords of Strut. These spandex adorned lads are on a mission to change the world with a dose of dance, acrobatics and a big old measure of slapstick. Multi-award winning dance duo Philip Connaughton and Deirdre Griffin roll out some thumping jigs whilst Megan Riordan, the star of the Tony Award winning Once The Musical (Dublin) and Ronan Brady, the Gaelic football player who ran away to join the circus, add to the sensational line up.  
Rounding out the cast is Kate Brennan, RIOT’S street corner poet delivering the emotive words and rhymes of Emmet Kirwan including those from Heartbreak, which became an award-winning short film, along with the show’s ‘Sirens’ vocalists Alma Kelliher, Adam Matthews and Nicola Kavanagh.  In addition, a surprise local guest artist will join the cast each night of the season.  
 It is not like Panti has not been to Australia before but this show is completely different: "But usually it's just me with my one-woman shows so this time will be very different (and I suspect even more fun) going with a big cast of brilliant, fun performers - many of whom have never been to Oz before.
"I think Australian audiences are going to LOVE this show. It was actually conceived as a show about Ireland but the themes are universal. It's got real heart, but is also a high octane spectacle. It's a noisy, glittery, raucous show that incorporates theatre, cabaret, circus, and music, and it will have you howling laughing one moment and the very next moment will break your heart. It's a wild fun party that sends you home with lots to think about. And I'm in it, so.... bound to be amazing, right? RIGHT??!! Right.
"Melbourne is one of my favourite cities in the world and the beautiful Arts Centre Melbourne is one of my favourite venues to perform in, so I'd be excited to return there under any circumstances. But returning there with this wildly talented cast, in this spectacularly entertaining show that we're all so proud of, is almost too much excitement for this old show pony! And then on top of that we get to welcome a different special guest into the cast every night! I may have to lie down till the palpitations pass."
 

RIOT plays as part of Sydney Festival 5- 28 January (www.sydneyfestival.org.au), then at Arts Centre Melbourne 31 January – 9 February 2018. Book at artscentremelbourne.com.au