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Oz politician saysmore Irish shouldmake move over

AN Australian MP who left Ireland as a teenager has encouraged Irish families immigrating to the country.

Stephen Dawson, then aged 13, left Dublin in 1989 to settle in Western Australia, and has since gone on to become a well-respected politician there.

"It's a big move but obviously there are a lot of opportunities over here and the sunshine, heat and the quality of life is great.

"Some of the downsides are that the Guinness is not as good and it is very far away from Ireland."

The 39-year-old, who is the oldest of four children, described his parents' decision to emigrate after a six-week holiday to visit family that had previously left Ireland as being hugely positive.

"We've all done well, I'm in politics and I have brothers and sisters who are sports stars and have represented Western Australia and Australia."

However, the politician, who is the first Irish-born parliamentarian in Western Australia for 50 years, said he did recognise the difficulties that uprooting a family can pose.

nurturing

"It is challenging if you have young kids - when you don't have that family structure of a mother or aunts to help you with the nurturing."

Asked about some of the negative media coverage Irish immigrants to Western Australia have received, Mr Dawson described how the region would be lost without the contribution of Irish people.

"We have Irish people in building sites and schools and most Irish people who have come over have made a great example of themselves," he said on Newstalk.

The Labour MP came to national prominence in Australia when he married his long-term partner in a civil ceremony only for it to be deemed illegal five days later.

It was the second time his adopted country had failed to recognise his union to his partner Denis Liddelow as the pair had earlier tied the knot on a trip to Ireland.

hnews@herald.ie


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