Funeral of Perth tragedy victim Joe McDermott to take place - 'one of the happiest people you could ever meet'

The funeral of Australia building site accident victim Gerard Bradley. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Brendan Hughes

THE funeral will take place today of the second of two young men from the north killed on a building site in Australia.

Joe McDermott (24), from Omagh, died alongside 29-year-old Gerard Bradley from Co Derry after a concrete slab fell on them in Perth.

Mr McDermott had moved to Australia only weeks earlier to begin a new life.

His devastated family, parents Tommy and Donna and sister Laura, fondly described him as a "bright and bubbly young man" following the tragedy.

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

Mr McDermott's body was returned home on Friday ahead of Requiem Mass at Omagh's Sacred Heart Church at 10am today, with burial afterwards in Drumragh Cemetery.

It follows the funeral of Mr Bradley on Saturday at St Malachy's Church in Coleraine, where hundreds of mourners joined his family to pay their respects.

The funeral was also streamed live to Australia where many of Mr Bradley's friends were watching.

Parish priest Fr Brendan Mulhall spoke in his homily of how a moment in time had changed the lives of the Bradley family forever.

"In one single moment they found themselves caught up in the middle of a situation that you would not wish on anyone," he said.

"There's always something immensely painful about the death of a young person."

He added: "We must trust in God that we will survive this tragedy and find the strength to keep going."

Mr Bradley had been in Australia for about two years but had only started his new job a week before the tragedy last month at an apartment block construction site.

Following noon Requiem Mass, Mr Bradley was buried in a nearby cemetery. A celebration of his life was also held at Portstewart Golf Club.

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

In a tribute ahead of the funeral his distraught family said he was "one of the happiest people you could ever meet" and had left them with "wonderful memories".

Both families have asked for donations in lieu of flowers to the Claddagh Association in Perth or the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.

The organisations were heavily involved in supporting the men's heartbroken families following the tragedy on November 25 and making arrangements for their repatriation.

The double tragedy brought to nine the number of Irish deaths in the Perth area in just three weeks – including five within a week.

Construction firm Jaxon, which operated the site, has offered counselling to its employees. An investigation into the accident is under way.


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