CAn we help you?
Can we help you?
Claddagh provides support and financial assistance to people from the Irish community in WA experiencing hardship. We work with families whose loved ones are terminally ill or in hospital, supporting them to be there for their loved one. This care extends to those who have experienced loss, including repatriation of bodies back to Ireland.
We also assist people on migration issues, including those whose visa status is not currently legal. During Covid-19, a large proportion of our work has been providing advice on current developments and support with travel and logistics.
Claddagh provides wrap-around support for people experiencing mental health challenges, escaping domestic violence, dealing with unemployment, homelessness, imprisonment, medical issues and many other difficult circumstances.
Our program for seniors includes regular social activities, home visits and phone calls, and other support as needed.
Claddagh have worked with hundreds of people from the Irish community in Western Australia since 1997, supporting them as they go through difficult circumstances.
My husband Ruairi and I moved to Perth in and our daughter Ariana was born here. She turned three, two weeks before my son, Lorcan, was born. He arrived when I was 24 weeks pregnant and he was with us for seven months and then passed away, and we spent that time in hospital.
I didn’t know about Claddagh at all. My friend messaged me at the start and she said, “Reach out to Claddagh,” so I did and Heather got back to me, but then I wasn’t ready. I didn’t realise things were as bad as they were because I was just at the start of it, so obviously wasn’t accepting any charity. I was like, “We’re fine, there’s nothing wrong.” People were offering to clean the house or bring some food and I was like, “No, we’re grand,” but we weren’t. I was in complete shock.
People don’t really get it, you’re so isolated. Everything you knew is gone and you’re in this hospital with all these medical people and your sick baby. I had no one and no one came from Ireland either, so at the start it was so hard with the C-section because I couldn’t drive.
In the end, I was very appreciative of the people who pushed through to help us, that was nice. I was in hospital with no connection with the outside world. So people who dropped food, people who came and cleaned the house, came and sat inside the café with me even though I might have just run out for 10 minutes and run back in there. That meant a lot to me.
Then it was towards the end when he passed away that my friend rang Claddagh again.
I can’t remember any of that time. They did everything. Oh my god, they were amazing, they organised the whole funeral. All we had to do was pick out songs and prayers and even that was a struggle so having them do everything else was just amazing. And everything else was gorgeous and perfect. They were so respectful. They got my brother over here from Sydney, paid for the funeral and helped us with rent.
Peter was fab, he was great for my partner. The boys kind of fall through the cracks a bit and he was amazing. Me and Ruairi grieved very differently. I left the hospital that day and that was it. But Ruairi wanted to go back in and hold him and be with him every day and I just couldn’t understand that, you know? To me that was weird but everyone does their own thing and so Peter went with him. Every time he was going in Peter went in with him, he was there in the morning with breakfast and stuff. I couldn’t praise them enough for what they did for us. They were just fantastic.
I went home to Ireland for seven weeks after he passed away and even when we came back, Peter rang and said, “Any time you need anything, ring us. There’s no problem, we can help you out.”
You know it’s like the sun comes out from behind the clouds? It does. Lorcan taught me so many lessons. And he was amazing, he just brought so much laughter into such a terrible situation. He was a little monkey.
I still have bad days. No, but they’re definitely getting easier. But when my baby Fiadh came, it definitely healed so much… It really helped. She has brought light back into the house because it was just like sadness, like all the time.
My brother Brian died in a motorbike accident in September 2018. He was 28.
He had been visiting friends in Karratha and was riding back to Perth when the strap of his bag got caught in the rear wheel. A lady who was passing waited with him on the road so he wasn’t there on his own.
We were all at a loss because I was living in London when we found out, and Mum was visiting me at the time. The accident happened on the bank holiday weekend in Australia and all the police would say was that he’d died. They just kept telling me to call my embassy.
Less than 24 hours after he died, one of the friends he had been visiting said, “I’ve been talking to the Claddagh.” That’s when I came into contact with Eoin and Heather. Eoin stepped in to talk to the authorities when no one would give us any information. He was able to talk to the hospital directly to find out more, and he also got more detail on place names and that sort of thing.
He met up with Brian’s friends as well, because they were all lads in their late twenties and they just wanted to help and do stuff. He offered to look after accommodation and emotional support and counselling, he talked them through what would happen when they had to identify Brian’s body.
They did all the logistics, but they were also so supportive. I didn’t realise Eoin had an actual day job apart from Claddagh because he said, “You can call me any time, day or night,” and that was just to talk, because I was in bits. Eoin had lost his brother-in-law a couple of years earlier and just being able to talk to him was really amazing.
Claddagh helped out with the whole process. Heather contacted the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust to get Brian’s body repatriated to Ireland and there was no need to worry about money or anything. They lined us up with pro bono lawyers because he died without a will and it’s incredibly complicated when that happens. Brian’s funeral was back here in Ireland but Claddagh also arranged a service for his friends in Perth while his body was still there.
We really wanted to give back so later that year we did a big tractor run in County Clare as a fundraiser for Claddagh and the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust. We raised €48K and gave them half each. The Vice Chair Peter met up with my mother when he was back in Ireland last year. They had handwritten some of the things they used the funds we raised for… the card they chose was a picture of the night sky, because Brian loved astronomy.
Eoin and Heather got in touch on the first anniversary to send a message to the family, and Heather still checks in every now and then to see if I need any help.
I’m from Kildare, and I’ve been in Perth since 2008. I met my wife in Thailand. She was on holiday from Ireland and I was visiting from Australia. We had a long-distance relationship and then she got pregnant, so she came over to visit and then decided to pack up and move over.. we’re now six years in, with two kids… so it was quite the holiday, really.
When my son was three weeks old, he went into hospital for a minor operation which had a lot of complications (July 2019). We ended up staying nine weeks in total. I was a sole trader on the ABN and my wife works at the City of Swan so we had no income coming in and we didn’t have a timeframe for how long it was going to last.
Our son had been in Intensive Care for a week and we didn’t know what was going to happen. My friend told me Claddagh were a real help … Eoin and Tom came down to the hospital and sat with us for two hours, talking about what they could do to help us. They didn’t know us from Adam… we just made a phonecall and two of them turned up .. real genuine people.
Claddagh looked after rent, bills… they made life so much easier.
My son is okay now, we’re still dealing with the hospital but he’s doing fine, thank God. He’s a strong boy.
Because of our communications with Claddagh, when my mum had Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer here, we gave Eoin a ring. They helped out with my mum as well, with the rent and getting food vouchers. They were so supportive and so good to mum and dad.
They gave mum advice about registering for a superannuation insurance fund, none of this stuff we would have known without Claddagh… when you’re going through cancer there’s so much going on.
My mum registered for a superannuation insurance fund without Dad knowing. She passed in January and two months later Dad found out that she had put in… the fund just paid out $54k to Dad.
CRISIS SUPPORT NUMBERS
Claddagh Association Crisis number:
0403 972 265
1800 643 000
1800 199 008
13 11 14
1800 007 339