Thursday 19 July 2018

'Paul was a lovely, humble fellow' - Community 'devastated' after Irish man killed in industrial accident in Australia

Alan O'Keefe

An Irish worker has died in a workplace accident in Australia.

Paul Walsh (37) from Rhue, Tubbercurry, County Sligo, was working on a telecommunications broadband installation project when he suffered a fatal head injury.

He was working in the town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains region when he became the victim of "an industrial accident," said police.

His death shocked and saddened the Irish community in Sydney and preparations are being put in place to return his remains to Ireland.

He was working for a contractor on one of Australia's biggest projects - the national broadband network roll-out.

The accident happened on Friday last in a popular tourist area.

Bill Morrow, chief executive of National Broadband Network, said "This is tragic news and we are doing all that we can to assist. The thoughts of everyone at NBN are with the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased at this very sad time."

One of Paul's friends in Australia, Louise Lane, told the Herald that family and friends were waiting for the remains to be released by the authorities so that he can make his final journey home for burial in County Sligo.

He played for his local GAA club in Sligo, Tourlestrane, as a corner back footballer before he emigrated to Australia.

GAA Club chairman Brendan Leonard said today "Paul was a lovely, humble fellow who was quiet and did his own thing.  He was due to come home for a visit in May to help his mother by bringing in the turf.

"The whole club is devastated by what happened. Although he was gone around eight years, he is very greatly missed.  Our thoughts are with his family. Paul's father Sean died last year and his first anniversary was coming up soon," said Mr Leonard.

A number of club fixtures were postponed over the weekend as a mark of respect.

A club statement offered sincere condolences to his mother Elizabeth and his brother John. His father passed away last summer.

A minutes silence was held before the start of a minors game between Tourestrane and Ballymote as a mark of respect.

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