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PROMINENT Holden dealer, Richard Ireland, has been awarded the Order of Australia in the latest Queen’s Birthday honours for his service to the motor industry and to the community of Cairns in North Queensland.

He is the third generation of the Ireland family to be honoured by the Queen.

Mr Ireland, in his role with the Australian Holden Dealer Council, finds himself in the thick of the negotiations with GM Holden over compensation packages offered to Holden dealers as GM moves to close the brand down in Australia.

The mediation process is being worked through this week.

Mr Ireland is co-managing director with his brother David of the family-owned FR Ireland Pty Ltd.

He is dealer principal of Ireland Holden, HSV, Mitsubishi and Isuzu Truck franchises.

He has played leading roles in industry associations and is currently a director of the Australian Automobile Dealers Association Queensland, a role he also performed from 1994 to1996. He was a director of the Motor Trades Association Queensland from 1990 to1991 and has served on state and national dealer committees for Holden, Mitsubishi and Isuzu Truck.

Mr Ireland’s father Ron was also awarded the OAM, in 1997, as well as the Centenary Medal in 2001.  His grandfather Francis Ireland was awarded the MBE in 1987; all for services to the community and to the motor industry.

Apart from his role in the motor industry, Richard Ireland has followed his father and grandfather into extensive involvement in the Cairns community.

He has been a member of the Rotary Club of Cairns for more than 30 years and is a Paul Harris Fellow – Rotary’s highest honour – as were his father and grandfather. He was president, 1999-2000 and also served as secretary.

He is currently president of the Far North Queensland Youth Assistance Fund, which helps disadvantaged youths. He has been a member of the fund since 1987 and a management committee member since 1995.

Mr Ireland said the fund “helps a lot of people who are trying to get to university, advance in their sport or pursue their arts careers and they can’t quite get there. So we give them a bit of a lift across the line”. The fund recently established a COVID-19 fund to help with food or medical assistance.

Mr Ireland was also director and deputy chair of regional advocacy group Advance Cairns from 2012 to 2018; in 2018 he was announced as that organisations first ever Life Member; he is a member of the Cairns Campus Founders Committee of James Cook University; was director and chair of the not-for-profit Reef and Rainforest Research Centre from 2006-2014; chair of the Marine and Tropical Science Research Facility interim board from 2005 to 2006 and foundation shareholder and director of the Cairns Taipans NBL Basketball Team, 1997-2001.

Photo credit: Meaghan Confait

By John Mellor

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