Family Reunion | 

Irish man reunited with long lost brothers through DNA testing

William Enright, who was raised in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, learned that he was adopted at birth when he was 23 years old.

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Neasa CumiskeySunday World

An Irishman has told of his delight after DNA testing introduced him to his two half-brothers.

William Enright, who was raised in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, learned that he was adopted at birth when he was 23 years old.

He was set to leave Ireland to pursue a doctoral degree at Michigan State University when his adopted father broke the news.

At the time, Enright was “obviously surprised” but had “never thought about looking for my biological mother or father” before.

He retired in 2014 and moved to Eganville, Canada where he attended an Ancestry presentation at an Eganville and District Seniors (EDS) meeting.

“I found myself wondering if I was even Irish in origin,” he told the Eganville Leader.

Enright decided to buy a DNA kit and sent off a saliva sample, later learning that most of his DNA originated in Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon.

Three years later, he received a call from the Irish Child and Family Agency Tusla, who told him that he was likely one of a few hundred babies who were adopted illegally via St. Patrick’s Guild and Dr. Eamon de Valera, a prominent gynaecologist and the third son of former Irish President Eamon de Valera.

While Tusla had no concrete information about his adoption, Enright became fairly certain that his birth parents were Eileen Riordan and Arthur Hanley, both from Claremorris in Mayo, who had died more than 20 years earlier.

He also learned that he had two half-brothers, one from each side of the family.

Brian was born to Eileen Riordan and her second husband, while Gerard, who was born to Arthur Hanley and his second wife.

The pair are both 45 and have been friends since they were children.

Neither knew anything about their older brother William but were eager to welcome him into the family.

The three men made contact via Zoom in October 2020 but were unable to meet in person due to Covid restrictions.

In April, Brian, Gerard, and their families travelled from Ireland to Canada to finally meet their long-lost half-brother.

“It was as if we had all seen each other yesterday," said Brian's wife Sinead Dyer.

Gerard's wife Nina added that everything felt "comfortable and natural".

"You get to know each other pretty well when 12 people spend a week together in the same house,” she said.

Reflecting on the life-changing experience, William said: “The discovery of my brothers and their visit to me was the best Easter present I could ever have imagined. I am also convinced that all six parents are looking down from above and are very happy that this circle of life has been completed.”


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