On behalf of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Association, welcome to the 10th Brisbane Irish Festival.

The Brisbane Irish Festival is an opportunity for the Irish community to celebrate and share our culture and significance in the beautiful city of Brisbane. In the past year many people have been working hard to bring you the 2021 festivities that we know will be a truly Irish celebration. 

The St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel our 2021 street parade until March 12, 2022. This decision was not taken lightly especially following the cancellation of the 2020 parade on the eve of the event also due to COVID. We feel however it was the correct decision especially given the current uncertain environment. The Family Festival Day at Willawong has also been cancelled this year for the same reasons. As we enter the vaccination phase of the global pandemic we look forward to delivering new and improved celebrations in 2022

Despite the cancellations, it is encouraging to see so many festival events still proceeding including the historic QIA Dinner, the quickly sold out IASAQ Charity Ball and much more. The 30th anniversary screenings of the classic movie ‘The Commitments’ at The Elizabeth Picture Theatre is a new addition to the festivities and we hope to foster Irish cinema in the years to come. The St Patrick’s Day Mass will also proceed on the 17th March as well as the Queensland Irish Choir performance with the QIA Dancers and QIA Pipe Band in Kedron. For a full list of festival events please turn to P10-11 of this program. 

This past year has been a difficult one for the Irish community and indeed everyone. Many Irish people have made Brisbane their home knowing family and friends were just a flight away. While technology has bridged the gap,  it is no replacement for being able to hug a loved one and share their company. I like to think the Brisbane Irish Festival relieves some of that home sickness many feel since the start of the pandemic but I do hope we can make those long trips again soon. 

The Irish Australian Support Association of Qld has been inundated with requests for help from stranded Irish Citizens over the last 12 months. They work tirelessly with the Irish Embassy in Canberra to deliver the help and information people needed to get them home or provide support during travel bans. There has also been many offers of support and accommodation from the Brisbane community for those stranded, showing we live in a caring and generous city.  

I would like to extend congratulations to the Queensland Irish Association for securing their new premises in Fortitude Valley in 2020. The QIA has had a challenging few years since the closure of the Irish Club and I commend them in being able secure a new home in a central location.  

All of this year’s festival events have been organised by various committees and organisations. The festival could not proceed without the dedication of all the volunteers who donate their time and expertise throughout the year-long planning process. Our sponsors, Brisbane City Council, Queensland State Government, Dept. of Foreign Affairs & Trade (Irish Govt.), Irish Murphy’s, St. Joseph’s College – Gregory Terrace, St. Patrick’s College – Shorncliffe and all the program advertisers, all play a vital and much appreciated role. 

Go raibh míle maith agaibh,

Gavin Roche

President of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Association Inc.