Irish emigrant meets relatives he was told he didn’t have after 40 year search
An Irishman who emigrated to Australia as a youngster has finally had success in his emotional search for his family members back home in Ireland, years after being told that all his relatives had passed away.
Paddy Monaghan had searched for the relatives he left behind in Derry for 40 years.
He had emigrated as a child with over 100 other Northern Irish children as part of a government migration scheme after the Second World War.
He was put into the care of the Sisters of Nazareth when he was two weeks old. The nuns sent him to Australia when he was 10.
However, he never gave up hope that he could be reunited with his family and embarked on a search that would last over four decades.
He visited Ireland several times and tried asking the Sisters of Nazareth for information. However, he was told that all of his family was dead and that there was no record of his mother.
Thirteen years ago he told the BBC: “All my life I’ve felt that bit of loneliness, I go to bed at night, I still think ‘where do I come from? I must have some family somewhere’.”
Finally in 2009, he was able to track down relatives in Co Fermanagh. He found a letter that his mother had sent to the nuns, and after searching for so long he was able to trace his family within weeks, thanks to this new lead.
He said: “People in the know kept telling me I never had a single living relation on this earth. Now I’ve got hundreds of cousins.”
He was desperate to find his relatives in Ireland as it would help his own children to better understand where they came from.
After finding so many relatives he said: “It makes me feel great. It’s a great feeling to find somebody that belongs to you – and you belong to them. It just made my life complete, finding that I had a family and I could go and see where they lived, where they walked, where they worked.”
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Sent to Australia as a child, Paddy Monaghan was told all his relatives were dead. Now after a 40 year search, he’s found his family thousands of miles away in County Fermanagh.
Posted by BBC Newsline on Wednesday, October 14, 2015