Friday 30 September 2016

'I tipped him on the back and I said ‘hello brother’'- 78-year-old man united with long lost brother at last

Cormac Fitzgerald

Published 27/08/2015 | 13:22

Frederick O'Donnell (78) accompanied by daughters Patricia (centre) and Theresa (right) meets elder brother Jimmy (80) for the very first time.
Frederick O'Donnell (78) accompanied by daughters Patricia (centre) and Theresa (right) meets elder brother Jimmy (80) for the very first time.
Frederick O'Donnell at the grave of his mother Julia O'Donnell

A 78-year-old man who was united with his brother after living his whole life without knowing him has spoken of their reunion.

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Frederick O’Donnell was united with his brother Jimmy O’Donnell (80) last month thanks to the work of his daughter Theresa Wardely and Finders International.

Both men were born in separate mother and baby homes to Julia O'Donnell in Dublin in the 1930s. Jimmy was brought up in an orphanage in Wicklow, while Frederick spent eight years in Artane Industrial School.

Both men lived completely separate lives and emigrated at different times to England.

Speaking on Newstalk’s the Pat Kenny show, Frederick described his first meeting with his long lost brother:

“We were waiting for him and I spotted him and I said to my other daughter, Patricia, ‘that’s hardly your man over there,’” he said.

“I went over and I stood behind him for awhile… and I tipped him on the back and I said ‘hello brother’ - and he looked and said ‘Ah hello, I’ve got a family at last.’”

Read more: Joy as two elderly brothers Frederick (78) and Jimmy (80) meet for the first time

The brothers found that they looked alike and neither one smoked nor drank.

Theresa said that it was “just a feeling” that Frederick had that he had a brother his whole life that he didn’t know. A chance encounter with a hospital porter put her on the search.

“I was having an operation, I was took [sic] to the operating room. and the porter was Irish,” she said.

We got talking and he said look on such and such a site, and I did and it all snowballed from there.”

The pair’s story was originally highlighted in the Herald in April. After the story went out, Finders International, a group that find missing heirs and family members, took up the case.

Padraic Grennan, of Finders International, said that he tracked down Theresa after he saw their story and put her in touch with one of the company's researchers.

"I'm as amazed as everyone else at the work the guys can do," he said.

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