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'A truly difficult time' for Irish community in Australia after five deaths in one week

Five more Irish people are believed to have died in other countries this week.

photo158120965215203281 From left to right: Jamie Peppard, Gerry Bradley, Joe McDermott

THE IRISH COMMUNITY in Western Australia has been left “devastated” after the deaths of five young people over the past week.

Liz O’Hagan of the Claddagh Association, which assists Irish people living in Australia during times of difficulty, said the high number of deaths is out of the ordinary for the community.

“Obviously the overall Perth Irish community is devastated by the loss of any life,” O’Hagan told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland. “But to have so many in one week, it makes such a truly difficult time for everyone.”

Two men in their 20s from Northern Ireland – Joseph McDermott from Omagh and Gerard Bradley from Portstewart – died after a concrete panel reportedly fell on them at a building site.

Another man from Northern Ireland, Alan Haughey (28) died on Monday after his car crashed in Western Australia on Saturday afternoon.

Jamie Peppard (23) from Co Meath died in hospital, also on Monday, after he fell from scaffolding on 13 November.

It is believed a woman died from a virus during the week.

The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust has been liaising with the families involved.

“A terrible week”

The Trust was set up in 2013 by the parents of Kevin Bell, who tragically died in New York in 2013, and ‘aims to alleviate the financial hardship of bereaved families repatriating their loved ones’.

Kevin’s father, Colin, described the past few days as “a terrible week” for Irish abroad.

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Speaking to this website, he added that Perth had been badly hit in recent weeks by other Irish deaths, ranging from a father who died after suffering a heart attack while visiting his children and a young man whose car was struck by a train.

Bell said the Trust has helped roughly five other Irish families working to return their loved ones to Ireland following sudden deaths in places such as Jamaica, Canada, and the United States.

Both the Claddagh Foundation and The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust rely on donations to assist families and individuals abroad.

Claddagh receives a grant for administrative work from the Australian government, and details on how to donate are available on their websiteThe Kevin Bell Trust receives no grant from either the Irish or Northern Irish government. Details of how to donate are available here.

‘RIP Lads’: Tributes paid to two Irishmen who died while working in Perth >

More: Family of Irish man killed in Australia raise thousands to bring him home >

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Nicky Ryan

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