18 August 2005 Edition
Dodie McGuinness in Australia
Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member and Deputy Head of the party's International Department Dodie McGuinness recently made a whirlwind tour of Australian cities where she briefed Australian and Irish-Australian audiences on the latest developments in the Irish Peace Process. The visit followed in the wake of the recent historic IRA announcement of an end to its armed campaign.
Accompanied by Friends Of Sinn Féin (FOSF) Co-ordinator John Little, McGuinness met with senior Australian politicians and with Irish-Australian support groups such as the Casement Accused and Australian Aid for Ireland.
The Sinn Féin representative visited the cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, where she was interviewed by numerous Australian media outlets, giving the Sinn Féin response to unfolding developments in Ireland.
The ten-day Australian tour began on Saturday 30 July in Melbourne where McGuinness met Senators Kim Carr and Gavin Marshall both of whom have spoken out in the past on Irish issues. An interview was conducted with The Age, one of Victoria's major newspapers. During a visit to Parliament Buildings hosted by Gavin Marshall, McGuinness provided an update on current political developments. She also attended a public meeting in Melbourne organised by the Casement Accused.
In Sydney there was a briefing at Parliament hosted by Paul Lynch, Deputy Speaker, followed by a meeting with former Prime Minister Paul Keating, who has been very supportive of the Irish Peace Process over many years.
Sydney also saw a meeting with the Irish Consul, followed by an interview for the Irish Echo newspaper which has a large readership in Australia.
Saturday saw a meeting with the Irish support network Australian Aid for Ireland which featured a question-and-answer session chaired by Paddy Gorman, President of the group.
In Perth McGuinness attended a briefing at State Parliament, hosted by Upper House Member Vince Catania. Guests included the Mayor, representatives of the Irish Business Community and Australian Aid for Ireland. Later there was a meeting with Western Australian Government Minister Allanah Mac Tiernan.
Dodie McGuinness said the Australian trip was successful in providing information on the developing process and that she was warmly received by everyone. It stood in stark contrast to recent negative commentary by Prime Minister John Howard who: "Not for the first time was out of sync with those in Australia who are interested in these developments," said McGuinness.