Belfast Telegraph

Australia deaths: Gerard Bradley's family say deaths will leave 'great void'

By Joanne Sweeney and Cate McCurry

The family of Gerard Bradley, who died alongside Omagh man Joe McDermott in a horrific work accident in Australia, has said his loss will leave a 'great void' in their lives.

The 29-year-old from Coleraine died in east Perth while he and Mr McDermott worked on a construction site.

It was reported that a concrete panel fell on them on Wednesday as they worked on the building of a new apartment complex on behalf of Jaxon Construction.

The construction site was closed for a second day yesterday as a health and safety investigation was carried out.

The Bradley family confirmed that Gerard and his English girlfriend Shelley Aplin had just been granted visas to remain living and working in Australia.

The Honorary Irish Consul for Western Australia (WA) Marty Kavanagh is due to speak with the coroner’s office who is expected to provide an update on when the bodies will be released.

However, it is not yet known whether a post-mortem will be carried out.

The Bradley family have gathered at their rural home in Macosquin as they slowly began to come to terms with the 'tremendous shock' of the tragic death.

The family are in touch with the Claddagh Association in Australia to help with the repatriation of Mr Bradley’s remains. It may be next Friday or later before the family will be able to have the popular young man back home.

Mr Bradley’s two aunts who live in Perth are currently working closely with the Claddagh Trust on their behalf.

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The Bradleys spoke movingly about Gerard as being “the happiest” of people in a statement.

It said: "What happened in Australia this week has come as a tremendous shock to our family and friends and to those of the McDermott Family, whose grief we share.

"It is impossible to describe the hurt and loss we are all feeling now. Gerry was one of the happiest people you could ever meet.

"He was a wonderful son, grandson, brother and friend and whilst his death will leave a great void in all our lives, he will leave us with some wonderful memories.

"The Bradley family would like to thank everyone for their support and condolences at this tragic time and would sincerely ask the media to respect our wishes for privacy."

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Gerard was one of three sons and a daughter to Gerard and Pat Bradley.

Known as Gerry to his wide circle of friends at home in Coleraine and in Perth, he was the second eldest of the siblings Jon-Paul, Gregory and sister Aoife.

His brother Gregory wrote on his Facebook page: "Gerard you will never be forgotten, but always missed..."

He added: "Sleep Well Gerry Bradley - You really lived life as it should be lived. Having the most fun possible & making more friends than anyone could imagine."

Meanwhile the grieving parents of 24-year-old Joe McDermott from Tyrone said they will remember him as the "bright and bubbly young man that he was".

The Tyrone man had moved to Western Australia just weeks ago to start a new adventure.

In a loving tribute his family said: "We are devastated by Joe's death. We will always remember him as the bright and bubbly young man that he was.

"We are so proud of our son, who was so well-known and popular. He was so selfless and touched so many lives.

"Our thoughts are also with the other family affected by this tragedy.

"We want to thank everyone who has been supporting us through this difficult time, and we have been touched by their kind words."

A spokesperson for the Claddagh Association said they have been flooded with calls from people wishing to help and donate following the double tragedy.

"We are all volunteers with day jobs so normally we can handle it all but this has been a difficult period," he said.

“The support for the two boys has been immense, we are getting all sorts of calls from people wanting to help.”

A church service is to be held next week in east Perth in memory of the two young men while counsellors will be at the local Irish club to offer services to friends and those who knew them.


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