herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Mum listened on the phone to tragic son's final breaths

AN Irish mother listened to her son's final breaths in a heartbreaking telephone call before doctors switched off a life-support machine in an Australian hospital.

Martina Kearney wished her 24-year-old son PJ a heart-rending farewell in a 3.45am telephone call after she was informed there was no hope of her son recovering from severe head injuries.

PJ had toppled off balcony railings at a pub in Brisbane at 2am on Friday and landed on his head. Friends who witnessed the fall at the pub later held his hands as he lay dying in a hospital bed in the city.

The young man, from Inbear Mor Park, Arklow, Co Wicklow, fell 13 feet and landed on his head in the incident outside the Beach House Bar and Grill.

Brisbane police said he was believed to have been standing on top of the railing when he fell.

He was rushed to hospital in critical condition and died on Friday afternoon.

A police spokeswoman told the Herald his family in Ireland had been notified of the tragedy. There were no suspicious circumstances. The Department of Foreign Affairs assisted the family in their inquiries.

Friends and neighbours of the Kearney family have been offering them support and sympathy after their devastating loss.

A fundraising benefit night is being organised to help fund the cost of bringing PJ's remains home to Ireland.

A member of the local community told the Herald that PJ, who had set up his own kitchen- fitting business, had been working in Australia for the past two years.

He did not travel home when his one-year work visa expired and he got a renewed visa to work for a second year.

His grieving mother Martina said her eldest son was a friendly, bubbly, lively man who was full of life.

She had spoken to him on the phone less than a week before he died. She had reminded him to telephone her on Mother's Day.

The family are liaising today with Department of Foreign Affairs personnel and the Brisbane coroners' office about repatriating PJ's remains to Ireland as soon as possible.

PJ was popular in the hometown of Arklow where he had played both soccer and Gaelic football at under-age levels.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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