MORE than €8,500 has been raised to help a mum and her three children who recently lost their father in a tragic work accident.
Married father-of-three, Brian McGrath, aged 39, fell 10ft while repairing the ceiling of Kildorrery National School in North Cork on August 16.
Mr McGrath remained at Cork University Hospital for seven days, fighting for his life, before passing away on August 22, two weeks before his 40th birthday.
His wife of ten years, Annie McGrath, originally from Mitchelstown, is now the carer for their three children; Katie, age 14, Kiera, aged 12, and Tyler, aged 9.
Both Katie and Kiera have special needs and attend St Joseph’s Holy Family School in Charleville.
Katie suffers from severe anxiety due to the fact that she is blind and has learning difficulties.
Kiera is severely autistic and non-verbal and needs 24-hour care, seven days a week.
Tyler is attending CBS National School in Mitchelstown. He is in third class having received his communion in May of this year.
Annie said that her youngest child and only son, Tyler, feels the burden of responsibility now that his dad is gone.
“Tyler has no problems and is great. He’s kind and is a bundle of energy. He feels a lot of responsibility on his shoulders now that his dad is gone," Annie told The Opinion Line on 96FM.
She has found it difficult to explain to the girls about the loss of their dad.
“Kiera doesn’t grasp it at all because she’s non-verbal so she doesn’t know or understand what is happening.
“But she was Brian’s best friend and she cannot talk or tell how she feels.
“Her cries are different now. I look at her and feel she does not know what has happened. I even think it might be better as she doesn’t feel the pain and I wonder what it would be like not to feel the pain.”
Annie described Brian as her rock and said he was always there for her.
“He was a big man, a strong man.
"He would have celebrated his 40th birthday on the Friday we had his month’s mind Mass, which we celebrated that night because that is what he would have wanted.”
Annie said Tyler told her he had to step up because he is now the “man of the house”.
Despite the ongoing turmoil, Annie said she had received a great deal of support from her friends and family and her sister in law, Ellen McGrath, set up a GoFundMe page to help ease the families financial troubles.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Ellen issued an appeal to the Cork community calling on people to help ease the upcoming financial pressures associated with Christmas and Santa.
Writing on a GoFundMe page, Ellen wrote: “With less than 100 days to Christmas I would like to pull together our wonderful community, of which Brian was very active in and ask you all to please make a contribution, however small it may be, to help to alleviate the financial pressures and to help overcome the pressures associated with Christmas and Santa.”
Ellen said Brian was an amazing family man, who loved his wife and children and had a zest for life.
“He was a mighty man for a game of darts and pool, and never shied away from an honest day's work,” Ellen wrote.
To contribute to the fund, search ‘In Memorial - Brian "Fathead" McGrath’ on GoFundMe.