Election 2023

Office Bearers – Candidates for Vice President

Ronan McDonald

I seek the honour of re-election as your Vice President for the following reasons:

1. The first role of a VP is to Support the President and Pat McGorry has my full loyalty. I also have his. That these two roles are aligned is vital for effective leadership.

2. I am the Venue Candidate. I am Chair of the Venue Working Group, envisaged in our 2022 Strategy. I have driven the venue acquisition process this year and we will soon find our Club’s new home. I can only complete this work if returned as VP.

3. I have a Track Record of advancing the Club’s mission, through cultural, educational and social events. ‘Celtic Connections’ has been wonderfully driven by Fergal Coleman and Shivaun Ryan, who I urge you to support for COM.

4. I have shown Strategic Leadership in the Club, in my professional life and in various community groups.

5. I have a valuable Profile and a Network. I hold the only Chair of Irish Studies in Australia and am internationally recognized scholar of Irish culture.

Much has been done, much remains to be done. I ask you not to break a winning team and humbly request your support.

Eamon Spillane

As a current Celtic Club Committee member I now seek election as your Vice President. I represent the right and interests of members and aim to promote a clear and transparent operation of the Committee, beyond the rhetoric.

In my career, as a teacher and school Deputy Principal, my skill as a mediator enabled me to consider the views of various stakeholders and negotiate fair, appropriate outcomes. Responding to member requests and considering alternative viewpoints equitably calls for this approach. We must avoid causing the alienation of any sector of our membership through our responses to their opinions.

My regular Irish community involvement includes being Comhaltas Vice President, committee member of the Melbourne Irish Festival and the Celtic Club Culture & Heritage sub-committee. As a musician I join the Celtic Club Friday session and am regularly involved with the music at events like the Irish Film Festival, Christmas in July, Melbourne Celtic and National Celtic festivals and all Comhaltas functions.

I regularly engage with members and have done this consistently at the many events and functions I’ve attended. Our Committee must make decisions after due consideration of all viewpoints and avoid moving in haste. This hasn’t always been the case.

Candidates for the Committee of Management

Fergal Colemen (O Colmain)

I respectfully ask members to elect me to the Committee of Management. I can continue to be a valuable part of Pat McGorry and Ronan McDonald’s team.

There has been a surge of new members since I joined the COM, mainly through our new Connections events, which I initiated with Shivaun Ryan and Ronan McDonald (both of whom I strongly commend for re-election).

I have served on the Venue Working Group, which will deliver a new venue by the AGM in line with our strategy.

With Ronan, I initiated a new walking tour of Irish Melbourne capturing Val Noone’s invaluable knowledge on film.

Born in Dublin, I’ve lived in Australia for 20 years. I run a successful technology business. I am a past president of the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce. I also sit on the board of the Jerry Kiernan Foundation, helping fund aspiring Olympic athletes in Ireland.

I have a keen interest in Irish culture and am a fluent Irish speaker. I love sport and played professional football in Ireland.

The Club has turned a corner and is ready to grow and thrive. With your support, we can continue this work.

Nial Finegan

When I arrived in Melbourne 2003 the Celtic Club provided me a warm and welcoming environment as a new migrant. I was honoured to be the Club President in 2013 when we were debating the future of Queen Street and indeed the very future of the Club.

The work led by Frances Collins to get planning permits presented the Club with a great opportunity to create a truly great home and sustainable future as Australia’s premier Irish club.

That decision to sell in 2014 was intended to usher in a new chapter for the Club. However, it is sadly evident that 10 years later we have yet to realise that vision and there is a degree of understandable frustration amongst members. While I acknowledge the recent progress made by the COM in articulating a strategy there is still significant work ahead to deliver a new homefor the Club. The days or wandering must end, we need our own gathering place – níl aontinteán mar do thinteán féin.

With a significant background in project delivery, I will work to support COM in delivering a new home for the members and strive to enhance the level of communication and engagement.

Rosemary Sheehan

Why should you vote for me?

  • Commitment to ongoing continuity and stability for the Celtic Club, encouraging new and current members and shared Irish-Australian heritage.
  • Commitment to continued strong financial and Club leadership from Patrick McGorry and Ronan McDonald
  • Development of a Celtic Club venue to renew the Club

Who am I?

  • I grew up in Canberra in a household steeped in Irish-Australian identity. Our connections to our family in Annascaul on the Dingle
  • Peninsula kept alive through music, writing, and robust debate about nationhood.

My association with the Celtic Club:

  • First joined around 20 years ago, bringing together Irish Australians, celebrating their identity.
  • I work closely with Brigidfest, the annual celebration of Irish/Australian women.

    What do I bring to the Celtic Club?
  • Determination to see the Club continue as a strong presence in the Irish Australian community.
  • Current proactive membership of the Committee of Management
  • Skills as a social worker, my work at Monash University, on government committees and community organisations, balancing large budgets, making difficult decisions, resolving competing claims in complex environments.

A vote for me will strongly represent your interests! I will be a great candidate for the ongoing Celtic Club Committee!

Go raibh maith agat

Shivaun Ryan

Shivaun Ryan is the newest addition to the Committee of Management of the Celtic Club, leading their Events Working Group.

Hailing from Waterford City, but calling Melbourne home for the last 10 years. After studying in Dublin, she ventured to New Zealand before settling in Melbourne. Shivaun’s expertise in tech startups has positively impacted the community, always helping new arrivals with job searches and advice! She remains connected to her Irish roots, actively participating in multiple Irish networking groups and maintaining a strong bond with her homeland.

Shivaun was last year shortlisted for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce Business Awards which was great recognition of her career to date and current role as Head of Customer Success at XY Sense, a technology startup that deploys AI-powered Smart Occupancy Sensors around the world. Since joining the CoM in February, Shivaun has assisted in getting great momentum in the Celtic Club’s regular Connections Events, with the latest panel discussion with some of the talented Irish AFL and AFLW players, which was a great success.

Siobhan Lavin

I am thrilled to nominate for committee. As a current committee member, I am aware of the challenges that we face in reimagining a Club that will prosper into the future. I wish to continue working on behalf of members in creating a community-focused association that celebrates the many facets of our vibrant culture.

Over the last two years on Committee, I have worked on establishing practices and oversight on our operations that resulted in substantial savings to the Club. This involved volunteering full-time for the Club for a few months whilst the Club re-structured its day-to-day operational management. It has also been a delight to work directly with other Irish and Irish-Australian associations to organize large events in the Irish calendar; a Halloween disco for the kids at Gaelic Park with 400 attendees has been a highlight.

I have over 20 years’ experience in investments and currently work in the superannuation industry. I grew up in country Victoria surrounded by Irish music, playing the Mandolin and one day hope to play a tune on my Uilleann pipes. I am blessed to have two beautiful young kids, who love camping, listening to folk tales and Irish dancing.

James Dunne

Born and educated in Ireland, most of my life I have been involved with Irish communities in both UK and Australia. In UK I was very involved with London Irish, then was transferred to Sydney by Estee Lauder as GM and within 2 years was President of Irish Australian Society. I was appointed CEO of Christian Dior in the early 90’s and developed a strong relationship with The Ireland Fund.

After a stint overseas I returned to Melbourne, I lived in the CBD and frequently dined at the Celtic Club. When the issue of sale of Club was first proposed at $12m I strongly objected and the vote to proceed was narrowly defeated as was the one for $18M.

I was then invited to join the committee. One of my significant contributions to Celtic Club was playing a major part in the sale of 320 Queen and the buyback option. Ronan McDonald and I created the symposium of “The Influence of the Irish on Australian Literature” held in October 2019 and was a great success. I an frequently interviewed on 3ZZZ including reciting my mother’s poetry in Gaelic on behalf of Irish language class. I support Patrick McGorry to ensure healthy future.