The West

Irish turn on great day for St Pat
Gaelic Irish dancers Roisin Colgan, Eilish Croskery, Sinead McGuire, Elizabeth Rose and Roisin Theodorou. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

The Irish and Irish-at-heart transformed Leederville into a sea of green, white and orange yesterday to celebrate the Emerald Isle's national day.

Thousands of revellers lined the streets for a parade featuring bright floats, marching bands, community groups and dancers for the second St Patrick's Day parade and family fun day.

The popular event, organised by Irish Families in Perth, is now in its second year, having grown from a parade last year into a full-day festival.

Ireland's honorary consul in WA, Marty Kavanagh, said it was fantastic to see so many people celebrating the Irish culture in WA.

"The integration is fantastic," he said. "For many Irish people, Western Australia is now home.

"It's fantastic for people to integrate. It's a family day and people love it.

"It's a sense of identity. We're Australian and we're Irish so we celebrate both."

Ireland's Minister for Public and Commuter Transport Alan Kelly, who is visiting Perth this week and was to talk at the Ireland WA Forum business breakfast this morning, said the influx of Irish people to Australia benefited both nations.

"People are getting more experience," he said.

"They're honing in on their talents and many will come back to set up their own companies and they will contribute significantly to the Irish economy into the future.

"And it's a win for Australia in terms of the contribution being made by the Irish here at the moment."

Mr Kelly said the Irish economy had turned a corner and he believed Irish workers would start being enticed home.

Sinead McGuire, from The Gaelic Girls Irish dancing troupe, which performed at yesterday's event, said Perth had a fabulous Irish culture. She said the group, which had been together about a year, wanted to show that Irish dancing could be fun and interesting.

"We all danced competitively together and we felt we wanted to do a bit more in the entertainment line and bring a bit of Irish culture back into Perth with a bit of a modern twist," she said.

The West Australian

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