I am delighted to welcome you to the 2021 Brisbane Irish Festival.

This vibrant annual event is a wonderful opportunity for Queenslanders of Irish ancestry to observe St Patrick’s Day and to celebrate a history rich in great achievements and outstanding contributions made by people of Irish descent. It also encourages Queenslanders without Irish heritage to participate in the festivities.

Festival organisers have planned a fabulous program, subject to coronavirus (COVID- 19) restrictions. That the festival is scheduled to take place at all is testament of the amazing response from Queenslanders to the coronavirus.

One year ago, the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Brisbane was just one of many events throughout Queensland which had to be cancelled because of the unfolding health crisis. At that time, we did not know how devastating the global pandemic would be, or for how long the world would be placed on hold.

However, Queensland, in line with the rest of Australia, has come a long way since then. Thanks to Queenslanders, our great State continues to bounce back on many levels. Health and safety are – and always will be – the Queensland Government’s top priority, and our economy is starting to flourish again, helping to support events throughout the State.

I would like to thank each and every person throughout Queensland for helping to make this happen.

The Brisbane Irish Festival emphasises the importance of Queensland’s multicultural outlook. Our State is renowned for embracing differences, respecting all faiths and cultures, developing community connections and encouraging social cohesion.

This perspective is what makes a Queenslander, and what makes the Queensland of today. We rejoice and take great pride in it.

Thank you to the organisers of the 2021 Brisbane Irish Festival. I hope it is a great success.