Irish Australia

Dublin arrests over Irish Australian cocaine smuggling racket

Wads of cash, hidden in a mattress, were discovered by Gardai investigating the Irish Australian drug racket. Picture: RTE

Wads of cash, hidden in a mattress, were discovered by Gardai investigating the Irish Australian drug racket. Picture: RTE

Young Irish people in Australia are being targeted by Dublin-based criminal gangs as part of an international drug ring.

Gardai in Dublin are working with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in an effort to break up a cocaine smuggling racket.

Six people, some of whom have just returned from Australia, were arrested in Dublin last week.

The investigation is being carried out by the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, which is working closely with the AFP, according to RTE.

It is understood arrests have also been made in Australia in the past few weeks and sums of money have been frozen.

At least six premises have been searched in Drumcondra, Artane, Finglas and Swords and around €250,000 was seized, according to gardaí.

Those arrested are aged between 24 and 31, and include five men and a woman.

Gardaí believe that cocaine is being sold in Australia and the money is being funnelled back to Ireland to be laundered.

Gardaí say the operation is indicative of the scale of the Kinahan crime gang's international drug dealing operation.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll, who is in charge of Special Crime Operations, said the Gardaí are continuing to liaise with Australian police who have frozen significant sums of money. 

He also said that the operation is focusing on the money trail. 

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, Mr O'Driscoll said young Irish 'professional' people in Australia were the gang's target market.

He said that criminal gangs are following the market, adding that the business is lucrative.

One-stop flight options to Europe take off

Qantas CEO, Dubliner Alan Joyce was on the first direct flight from Perth to London Heathrow last month.

Qantas CEO, Dubliner Alan Joyce was on the first direct flight from Perth to London Heathrow last month.

DIRECT flights between Dublin and China will begin later this year, adding more one-stop options between Ireland and Australia.

The first direct flights between Ireland and China will begin in June. Hainan Airlines will operate between Dublin and Beijing while Cathay Pacific will connect Hong Kong with the Irish capital. Eight direct flights will link the countries every week.

Both airlines connect to Australia offering expats more options when it comes to booking trips home. Meanwhile, WA-based Irish can now travel one-stop to Ireland via London following the launch last week of Qantas direct flights between Perth and London Heathrow. It is the first direct air-link between Europe and Australia and the fastest way to travel between the continents.

Qantas CEO and Dubliner Alan Joyce, who was one of the passengers on the inaugural flight, said it was a major milestone for Australia, as well as global aviation.

“This is a truly historic flight that opens up a new era of travel. For the first time, Australia and Europe have a direct air link,” Mr Joyce said. “The response has been amazing.” Mr Joyce said a huge amount of work had gone into improving the experience for customers taking the 17-hour journey. “This is hands-down the most comfortable aircraft that Qantas has ever put in the sky. Boeing designed the Dreamliner with features to reduce jet lag, turbulence and noise.

“We’ve taken that a step further with our cabin design, giving passengers more space in every class as well as bigger entertainment screens and more personal storage. “We’ve worked with the University of Sydney and our consulting chef Neil Perry to create a menu that helps the body cope better with jet lag and adjusted the timing of when we serve food to encourage sleep.”

The daily QF9 begins in Melbourne, flying to Perth before travelling nonstop to London. Qantas has adjusted the timing of some domestic services into Perth so that passengers from Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane can join the flight to London.

Those travelling between Ireland and Australia already have a range of one-stop options including Emirates (via Dubai), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi) and Qatar (via Doha). All three airlines offer slick connections, cutting flying time to almost 20 hours.

The chief executive of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, hailed the addition of extra long-haul direct routes into Dublin. “[The] announcement is excellent news for Irish tourism in 2018 and beyond.” “As an island destination, we know the importance of direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated,” Mr Gibbons added.

Craic everywhere - St Patrick's Day 2018

The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, NSW is just one of the greenings in 2018.  See the  Tourism Ireland website  for the full list of Australian and global greenings. 

The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, NSW is just one of the greenings in 2018.  See the Tourism Ireland website for the full list of Australian and global greenings. 

IN Sydney, St Patrick’s Day gets underway with Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral at 10am with Bishop Terry Brady. After early Mass, there is a lunch at The Castlereagh Club.

The Mercantile Hotel, the oldest Irish pub in Australia kicks the big day off with its annual St Patrick’s Day Breakfast, including a three-hour beverage package with Irish coffee, live Irish music and dancing.

For the first time in over 20 years, The Mercantile has been granted access to George Street with pop-up bars and food stalls making it an Irish street party. Paddy’s weekend at the Bald Rock Hotel, overlooking Sydney Harbour, includes live music all day.

You can enjoy St Patrick’s Day at any of the four PJ Gallagher’s pubs, where you will find traditional Irish music, Irish dancers and Guinness giveaways. There will also be festive fun at the St Patrick’s Race Day in Gosford. You can join the craic for PJ O’Brien’s St Patrick’s Day Weekend whether you are in Cairns, Port Douglas, Melbourne or Sydney.

NSW State Library is going green in 2018

NSW State Library is going green in 2018

There will be live Irish music all weekend. On Sunday, the festivities continue in the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park. There will be a variety of music on the big stage from 12pm, a children’s parade and play area with bouncing castles and face painting galore, Irish dancers and marching bands displaying the very best in local talent.

 

 

You can catch Eireborne, The Rebirth of Irish Dance, on March 17- 18. They perform at Wentworthville on Saturday and Dee Why on Sunday. More than an Irish dance show, Eireborne is a theatrical experience like nothing you have seen before. Featuring a live band, dancers from hit Irish shows Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance kick up their heels performing traditional and modern Irish dance as well as ballroom and tap dance. Canberra Irish Club is hosting a range of events over St Patrick’s weekend with Saturday filled with fun, including Irish dancers and Irish-style dishes. On Sunday, you can recover with a BBQ and drink deals from noon.

Perth St Patrick’s Day Parade and Family Fun Day takes place on the day itself. Starting at 10am, the streets of Leederville turn green for parade day, with floats, walking groups and marching bands. The Family Fun Day includes kids activities, food stalls, live entertainment and a bar. Also in Western Australia, you can head to St Patrick’s Race Day at Ascot Racecourse. There, you can celebrate all things Irish with plenty of Guinness and Kilkenny on tap, live music and a full race day schedule. In South Australia,

Adelaide Oval is turning green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in conjunction with the Irish Australian Association. There will be food and drinks, live music and entertainment all day. In the Northern Territory, you can join in the festivities at Shenannigan’s St Patrick’s Race Day on Saturday 17 March. You are encouraged to come dressed in green to enjoy a relaxing luncheon and a three-hour drinks package.

Lots of laughter in Qld BRISBANE’S St Patrick’s weekend celebrations get underway with the Irish Ausralian Chamber of Commerce’s annual St Patrick’s Day corporate lunch. Starting at 12pm, March 16, the event will be addressed by prominent speakers and a guest appearance by comedian Paul Martell.

Queensland Irish Association’s St Patrick’s Eve dinner takes place at the Pullman Hotel from 6.30pm on Friday, March 16.

LEADING THE WAY: The Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band will be playing at Brisbane's Parade.  PHOTO: Katherine O'Malley

LEADING THE WAY: The Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band will be playing at Brisbane's Parade.  PHOTO: Katherine O'Malley

The day itself starts with a St Patrick’s Day Mass at the Cathedral of St Stephen at 8am before the parade gets under way at 10.30am. The parade begins at the Botanic Gardens with more than 700 participants and 40 floats to travel through the city before returning to the botanics. This will be the 29th St Patrick’s Parade in Brisbane.

Entertainment will be provided by Celtic Fusion on the rotunda while stalls in the Gardens will offer food, drink and crafts for sale. Jimeoin, the Northern Irish comedian who has long called Australia home, will take to the stage at Paddyfest, a day of Irish music and entertainment at Eagle Farm Racecourse. General admission and VIP packages have already sold out but a Celtic Stable Party package has been added. There will also be performance by pipe bands, rock bands (including a U2 tribute act) and Irish dancers.

The festivities start at 11am and continue until 10pm. Fortitude Valley’s Brunswick Street Mall will also turn into an Irish street party. Finn McCool’s pub, celebrating its second St Patrick’s Day, extending its outdoor area to incorporate two stages and food stalls. The festivities will wind down with a performance by the Queensland Irish Choir at the Brisbane German Club from 2pm on March.

Full St Patrick's Day What's On details here

Barnaby Joyce's Irish roots

Barnaby Joyce treasures his Irish heritage but not his pale Celtic skin.

Barnaby Joyce treasures his Irish heritage but not his pale Celtic skin.

Australia's deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is currently at the centre of a major political controversy.

The Nationals Party leader's marriage has broken down and his new partner, a former staffer almost 20 years his junior, is pregnant with his child.

Back in 2010, the then Senator for Queensland had no such concerns as he told the Irish Echo about his Irish heritage.

What is your Irish background?

My first Irish ancestor to come to Australia was Father Roach a Benedictine priest in 1842. His two brothers, one my direct ancestor Lawrence Roach, followed from County Kilkenny in 1853. On my maternal grandmother’s side the first was an Irish Orphan from the potato famine, Mary Troy, who arrived in 1849 from County Cork. name is noted on the memorial to the Irish orphans near Macquarie Barracks in Sydney. My father came from New Zealand after the Second World War. His grandfather Michael Joyce arrived from County Galway in the 1860s. My wife also has some Irish heritage.

What, in your view, have you inherited from your Irish background?

Obviously my religious conviction and faith. Also, robust but friendly engagement with the people you meet and resilience to go to areas where other people may be less likely to go.

Most importantly, respect for how lucky we are in Australia and, most unfortunately, fair skin which I am trying to breed out by marrying my wife who has an olive complexion.

Much is said about the strong connection between Ireland and Australia but what do you think the Irish legacy has been to Australia?

Bob Hawke said it most succinctly; the Irish colonised the world, not by military power but by character. Go to any pub in the county and you see the strong connection and ethos from the Irish. In Australian literature we borrow a lot from the immense depth and dynamics of Irish writers. Ireland has managed to create an affinity among the Australian people that no matter how dispersed and diminished the Irish blood is in the Irish Diaspora, people proudly claim their Irish connection and that’s a good thing.

Which character from Irish or Irish Australian history would you most like to have met? Why?
 
Archbishop Daniel Mannix. Not that I necessarily agree with everything he said, but he was one of the most  dynamic political figures in Australia even though  he was  never elected to office. Also, Les Darcy the boxer, because he came from a working class area in the Hunter Valley and then became so famous. It would have been interesting to meet the Kelly Gang to see if they were really ratbags.

Have you visited Ireland?

Yes, I stayed with my cousins in Co Cork. Even though we left in the 1850s we’ve been in communication for all that time. My distant but dear Great Grand Aunt used to send me books on how to speak Gaelic from Galway. She must have worried that I was losing the language, which of course I have. I visited Ireland in 1993, and I spent the whole time talking to cousins who seemed to be everywhere.

Do you have a favourite place in Ireland?

Galway. I never thought I’d have a sense of connection because of so much time and distance, but I did get a sense of something deeper there especially when I saw my family name written in Gaelic on the street signs.