Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Nine Irish people die in Australia in three weeks

Families pay touching tributes to two young men killed in Perth building site tragedy

By Claire Williamson

Nine Irish people have died in Perth in the past three weeks - an organisation set up to provide support to the Irish community in times of crisis has said as they comfort relatives of two young men killed in a building site accident.

The heartbroken families of, Joe McDermott from Omagh and Gerard Bradley from Portstewart, have told of their devastation as the two young men were killed when a concrete slab fell on the site in east Perth where the pair were working.

The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, set up to assist families who have lost loved ones abroad, is also helping the McDermott and Bradley families and is working alongside the Claddagh Association.

The Claddagh Association has been providing assistance to the young men's families in helping to bring their sons home.

A spokesman revealed that in the past three weeks nine Irish people have died in Perth.

Earlier this week, a Co Armagh man was tragically killed when the car he was travelling in crashed in Western Australia.

Alan Haughey (28) from Craigavon was a back seat passenger in a 4x4 which lost control on a bend in the Mount Burgess area on Saturday afternoon.

"Every one is so shocked by it all and it affects a lot of people, particularly as there were two of them," a Claddagh Association spokesman said.

"The bodies will now be at the coroner's office and it may take some time before there are flown home.

"I don't believe either family is coming out to Australia. I understand one of them has family in Tasmania, so they may come to Perth.

"Joe and Gerry were standing out the front of the building where they were working, for a smoke, just after their break and there was a truck being unloaded of concrete.

"Workers were taking it off the back of the truck and it tipped over and fell.

"With the influx of the Irish, things have become a little busier for us.

It is with a very heavy heart that we write this post. Joe was a very valued member of the Silverbirch family for many...

Posted by Silverbirch Hotel & Business Centre on Wednesday, 25 November 2015

"We have another body of a man from Craigavon and another lad who was injured on a building site when he fell of a ladder.

"We have had nine Irish people die in Perth during the last three weeks."

The welfare group helps to organise the repatriation of Irish people when they have no family in Perth.

The association has an undertaker and a travel agent who help in bringing bodies back to Northern Ireland and work with the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.


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."

The family of 29-year-old Gerry Bradley said they are in "tremendous shock".

In a statement 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.

"Gerard 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.

Local media also reported that one of the men was just days away from returning to Northern Ireland for Christmas. A friend of Mr Bradley revealed on his Facebook page that he was due to meet him at an airport in Australia today.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph