herald

Thursday 25 May 2017

NY Irish left shaken by immigrant's lonely death

The death of an Irish immigrant in New York, whose body lay undiscovered for more than a week, was a wake-up call for the Irish immigrant community, it was claimed today.

Anthony Gallagher (72) originally from Belmullet, Co Mayo, died in his apartment from a suspected heart attack and was not found for up to 10 days.

His wife, Josephine, who suffers from Alzheimers, is being cared for in a nursing home in Kingston, New York and the couple had no children.

"None of our elderly immigrants should be ignored like this", said Ciaran Staunton, who is on the board of the Irish Centre in Queens.

"Charity begins at home. We've been sending money back to Ireland for years to help people and forgetting that Irish people here need help."

Appeal

Mr Staunton spoke at the Mass for Mr Gallagher at the New York Irish Centre in Queens, where he appealed for help in reaching the elderly.

"We need to do something within our community to make sure there are no more deaths like this."

Mr Gallagher, spent years working on the Alaskan pipelines, then moved to work as a carpenter in New York.

His body was found after a caretaker in his apartment building called the emergency services.

His brother, Eddie, who lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts said his family was heartbroken.

A spokeswoman for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheal Martin, said the State does provide funding towards day centres for Irish immigrants in New York but Mr Martin would look at funding an outreach worker to visit older immigrants in their homes.

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