Thursday 22 February 2018

Are you related to this homeless Irish man who died in Australia?

sydney harbour
sydney harbour
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Reverend Bill Crews contacted Liveline today to try and find the family of a homeless man who died in Sydney recently.

Frank Lawlor emigrated to Australia in 1976 and died in June this year while getting food at a homeless shelter.

Now, the Reverend who carried out his funeral service is trying to find out if he has any family still alive in Ireland.

Reverend Bill Crews runs a food van in Sydney which gives away 1200 meals a day to homeless people and was there the day Mr Lawlor died.

As he couldn’t find any relatives and knew nothing about him, Bill Crews was appointed as his next-of-kin.

They were able to identify Frank’s name as he was arrested in 1983 for vagrancy. Vagrancy makes it illegal to sleep rough or beg in public places.

Mr Lawlor was only recently buried after his fingerprints were taken and he was finally identified.

“We know he’s Frank Lawlor from Ireland and that’s all,” Reverend Bill Crews told RTE’s Liveline today.

“We gave him a proper funeral and he was cremated. I hope some day someone will recognise him from something and we can give them his bags and ashes.”

After hearing the story on Australia’s national station ABC, a man called Tony set up a thread on website and was directed to Liveline in his quest to find Mr Lawlor's family.

Unfortunately, the two men knew nothing else about him and didn’t have a photograph.

An Irish man called Rom Hyde rang in and spoke about his own brother, Peter, going missing in the early 80s. He knows that Frank probably wasn’t his brother, but he couldn’t help hoping that his own mystery had finally been solved.

Rom thinks his brother went to Perth in Australia after his sister Deirdre, who lived there, thought she saw him driving a car one day.

"I don't think he was taken by aliens," Rom said.

"He didn't go to Australia in 1976 but he would fit the age profile. He was a bit depressed at the time and one day he just left the house and we haven't seen him since."

If you think you may know Frank or Peter, email .

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