Dublin man (82) is united with sister he did not know existed until weeks ago

Paddy Delaney had been searching for surviving family members for almost 20 years

An 82-year-old Dublin man has been united with the sister he never knew existed until weeks ago.  File photograph: Antoine Antoniol/Bloomberg News

An 82-year-old Dublin man has been united with the sister he never knew existed until weeks ago. File photograph: Antoine Antoniol/Bloomberg News

 

An 82-year-old Dublin man has been united with the sister he never knew existed until weeks ago.

Paddy Delaney from Rush only discovered when he applied for a passport in 2003 that he had been fostered. He saw the name of his birth mother on his birth cert and realised the family who had raised him was a foster family.

For several years he has been searching for any surviving biological family members and through a DNA test recently discovered he had a sister living in England, as well as several cousins and an uncle.

Mr Delaney this week met his sister Maureen Perry in Dublin Airport.

“I just threw my arms around her,” he told RTÉ Radio 1’s Drivetime on Monday.

“This is like a fairytale, that’s what it’s like, honest to God. It’s unbelievable that I can see my sister after 82 years,” he told presenter Cormac Ó hEadhra.

“It’s like waking up in the morning and discovering that you’ve no money and then you find out after about a month that you’re loaded. That’s the way it is after meeting my sister. I was dumbfounded.”

Ms Perry said she learned about her brother through a cousin.

“I didn’t know until three weeks ago that he even existed; I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

“I had to read the letter twice; I thought first of all it was a hoax, then when I read it through all the dates were correct. As soon as I knew I had got a brother, I thought I have to come over straight away and meet him.”

Their meeting was “absolutely brilliant”, she said. “We both started crying, we put our arms around each other. It was overwhelming.

“I always felt quite lonely as a child. I would have loved to have had a brother.”

Ms Perry said her mother had never told her she had had a child before leaving Ireland.

“It would have been nice if she had confided in me, but she took that secret to her grave I’m afraid,” she said.

“I can understand at the time, we don’t know the circumstances, but it was probably the only thing she could do, but in later life it would have been nice if she had confided in me and I could have made inquiries and Paddy and I could have had more years together.”

However, it was “better later than never”, she said.

“It’s happened now, it would have been lovely if it was years ago, but at least it’s happened now, and we’re both alive, that’s the main thing.”