Belfast Telegraph

Gerard Bradley's family tell of great void in their lives following Perth building site tragedy

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 - have said his loss will leave a "great void" in their lives.

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

It was reported that a concrete panel fell on them on Wednesday, causing their deaths, 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.

Last night 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 Marty Kavanagh is due to speak with the coroner's office today, and 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 were gathered at their rural home yesterday in Mocosquin as they slowly began to come to terms with the "tremendous shock" of Gerard's death.

And while they are in touch with the Claddagh Association in Australia to help with the repatriation of his remains, it may be next Friday or later before the family will be able to have his body back home.

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

The Bradleys spoke movingly about Gerry as being "the happiest" of people in a statement issued yesterday.

They 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."

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.

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."

A spokesperson for the Claddagh Association said it has 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 way over the top, we are getting all sorts of calls from people wanting to help."

A church service is to be held next week in Perth in memory of the two young men.

And counsellors will be available at the local Irish club to offer services to friends and those who knew them.

Belfast Telegraph


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