Monday 19 March 2018

'They never forgot him' - Irishman in Manchester's family found after appeal for people to attend his funeral

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Kathy Armstrong

The long-lost family of an Irishman have come forward following a heartbreaking appeal for people to attend his funeral.

John Joseph O'Brien (73) died in Manchester on August 9 and when it was expected that nobody would go to his funeral The Council of Irish Associations Manchester issued a plea online for mourners to come to the service on Wednesday, which they say was viewed and shared over 40,000 times.

They have since said that his long-lost children have got in touch saying they "never forgot him" but sadly their efforts to build a relationship with him failed.

The Council of Irish Associations Manchester said: "Mr O'Brien was a native of Enniscorthy Co Wexford, he came to England and got married and had two sons and a daughter.

"Sadly, the marriage ended and he moved away, naturally the children loved their dad and never forgot him.

"When grown up they tried to find their dad but in their words they were stonewalled.

"With the help of an Irish group near their home they followed many leads - to Ireland, to the US, Canada and Australia to no avail."

Read More: Plea for mourners to attend funeral of Irish man who died alone in Manchester

They continued to say that even after Mr O'Brien's eldest son died, his remaining son and daughter continued to search for him but never found him.

The group revealed that Mr O'Brien wanted to find his children shortly before he died.

A spokeswoman for the association said: "John was ill and visited often by a local project, they described him as a very private man.

"Ironically he recently inquired into finding his family but passed away before it was possible."

They said that his son and daughter arranged Mr O'Brien's funeral on Wednesday that was open to his family and friends.

The association added that his son and daughter were overwhelmed by the amount of people who responded to the initial appeal.

They said: "They want to thank everyone who have tried to honour their Dad's memory and for all the good wishes.

"To the few sceptics who made the comments about fortune hunting there is none.

"Now John is reunited with his son may they rest together in peace."

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