An Irish man who left home 60 years ago is trying to find a long-lost sister who he has not seen since he was a teenager.
Martin Farrell, 80, from Abbeyleix in County Laois, emigrated to the United Kingdom around 60 years ago and has since moved to Australia.
He has not seen his beloved sister Catherine ("Kathleen") since he left Ireland six decades ago and is desperate to locate her following the death of his younger brother Johnny last Christmas Eve in Sydney, Australia.
Farrell said that his younger brother's death made him consider his own mortality and that it inspired him to track his sister down.
"We were close and I suppose his death has made me think more about my siblings and my family life. I would dearly love to know what happened to Kathleen even if she has already passed away," he told the Irish Independent.
Farrell, who now lives in Melbourne, moved to Dublin at the age of 17 and briefly worked on construction sites before emigrating to the United Kingdom. He worked in London for several years, where he met his wife and had four daughters who all currently live in Australia.
After spending several years in London, Farrell decided to head Down Under, taking advantage of an incentive by the Australian Government that paid for immigrants to come to the country and work. He has lived in Melbourne ever since, while his brother Johnny spent most of his life in Sydney.
Farrell was one of eight children, six of whom were sent to industrial schools in Kilkenny and Clonmel as their parents couldn't cope.
"They managed to keep two of us at home. The eldest and youngest children. My dear mother was always in hospital and my father couldn’t manage on his own, so what happened was totally understandable," he told the Independent.
Martin was closest in age to his Kathleen but said that a number of his siblings lost touch as they were placed in different industrial schools.
Kathleen was sent to work in Dublin as a nurse and eventually emigrated to London, Martin Farrell said. After that, however, he is almost completely in the dark.
"All I know is that she visited Abbeyleix once after she moved to London. I have a photograph of her in her nurse's uniform and I believe it’s from her time in London. Kathleen could very well be in Australia for all I know, or if she married and had children her family are," he told the Independent.
Martin's daughter Fiona has launched several Facebook appeals on her father's behalf, but they have so far been unsuccessful in their search for his missing sister.
"I would dearly love to know what happened to Kathleen even if she has already passed away," Martin Farrell said. "It really would ease my mind, to know what became of Kathleen as I was very close to her when we were children."