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Irish Chamber

The Changing Face of the Irish in Australia

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I'm asked many times to pass comment about Irish Australian business, the new wave of Irish business people coming to Australia, how Irish Professionals in Australia are getting on and all sorts of related topics so it made sense to give a view as to how I see things currently to kick off the blog on our new website.

In the past few years, Ireland, as we all know, has not had her troubles to seek in terms of the economy and opportunities in some sectors being scaled back. Many emotive pieces were written about the spectre of forced migration and some appeared to delight in passing on bad news. Yes, we all knew someone who had a terrible experience, but equally so, many of us knew of young Irish professionals in Australia writing their own successful chapters in the story of the diaspora.

Ireland has always had a significant number of her children travel to all parts of the world seeking employment, building skills and experiencing new things - I did it myself following university. It is often a positive thing and there are many benefits to be gained for both our homeland and our adopted home countries as each generation enhances their capability, reputation and builds more links in the global business community and the global Irish network.

We provide support for each other, we facilitate better business links in an increasingly small world, we create employment, we create opportunities and we manage to do so in a way that other nations find engaging and enjoyable but professional. I am fortunate to do business with a broad spectrum of Australia and a recurring theme is that when these clients attend Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce functions, not only do they benefit their businesses but they also experience that X Factor that only an Irish business event in Australia delivers.

The IACC, like the Irish Australian business community that we represent, is changing noticeably and I believe it is changing for the better. Several years ago, when I attended my first chamber function, I found it very male, very middle aged and difficult for a new arrival to make much headway. Now we are seeing most growth in our membership among the under 40s, among female members, among skilled professionals and among Australians of Irish background or those who simply do business with us. One of the most satisfying things about being involved in this transition is how we have retained the fantastic experience and networks of our more senior members while providing practical and effective support to the young Irish professionals arriving in Australia in greater numbers. This has been delivered in many ways but foremost has been the ongoing success of our national mentoring program which you will hear more about in a future blog.

So, the face of Irish Australia is changing and we are seeing many young professionals as well as seasoned executives and Irish businesses emerging in our community. We welcome them, we will continue to support them as those before us supported us and we will continue to look forward to hearing their stories.