Mother of Limerick man who died in Australia thanks charities bringing him home

The late Alan Walsh.

THE mother of a young Limerick man who died suddenly in Australia has thanked two charities who are helping to arrange to bring her son’s body home.

On September 28 last, Alan Walsh (26), from Rhebogue Meadows, collapsed and died in the compound of a lithium mine in Perth, Western Australia, where he had been working.

Mr Walsh’s heartbroken mother, Anne Walsh, has thanked the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust and The Claddagh Association Inc, based in Australia, for assisting in arranging for her son’s remains to be brought home to his family.

Alan’s remains are expected to be repatriated to Ireland next week on October 17.

“Only for them it would be a rollercoaster of stress, and anything I can do to help them, I will,” Ms Walsh said.

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A number of online fundraisers have been established to help with Mr Walsh’s funeral costs, with funds also going to the charities who have helped the Walsh family.

“Everyone wants to help, which is nice to see. Once the charities get most of it, I will be so glad because they are brilliant, so so brilliant,” Ms Walsh said.

“You don’t think you need them until you are thrown into this nightmare that we are in now.”

A phone call in the early hours of the morning informing her of her son’s death filled Anne with “the biggest dread”.

“It’s awful, it’s a call you think you’re never going to get at three in the morning. We are in the nightmare now and we just have to get through it.

“Alan was only 26 and he was due to meet me in Tenerife in four weeks’ time for my 60th birthday, he had his flights booked and I was counting down the days,” Ms Walsh said.

Her only son had ventured off with a group of friends to Australia in the hope of work and adventure in March 2020.

The group worked on farms in Brisbane and Sydney, before Alan went to work in a lithium mine in Kalgoorlie.

“He was out in the compound where workers stay. He didn’t feel well for three days, one of his friends told me,” Ms Walsh explained.

“He went to the medic and he collapsed and they did CPR on him for about 90 minutes before they got a doctor to him. He died on the compound.”

“I still don’t believe it. It’s like a nightmare that I’m waiting to wake up from.”

Ms Walsh praised her family, neighbours and friends, who have “rallied around us, and we are blessed for that”.

She described Alan as “someone who got on with everyone he met, he was a harmless messer”.

Ms Walsh said her family is waiting for answers about Alan’s death, which they hope will come with the results of an autopsy.

“We don’t know how he died yet, because we have to get the coroner’s report,” she explained.

A GoFundMe page established by Mr Walsh’s boss, Derek Hall, and his cousin, Amy Lynch, has so far raised over $82,000 AUD (€50,000).

Another fundraiser, organised by Mr Walsh’s neighbour Geraldine Kirwan, has so far raised €1,420.

And, a third GoFundMe page, established by a partner of one of Mr Walsh’s siblings has so far raised €1,520.

Paying tribute to Mr Walsh, Derek Hall said he had been “a much-loved family member” and a “loyal friend and workmate”.

“He was 26 years old, surrounded by the best group of mates onsite and living his best life with the world at his feet,” Mr Hall added.

Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Mr Walsh is survived by his parents Anne and Mike, and sisters Grace and Michelle.