'Exceptionally sad' | 

Last ditch attempt to trace family of Irishman who died in Birmingham for funeral

“I was told recently that he had no children and was never married, so we're looking for his siblings and we're trying to ensure that we meet the last wishes of John, and his family, in respect of how his funeral is dealt with.

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Further information has been released by Birmingham City Council in an attempt to trace relatives of an Irishman who died in the city last month.

The council are trying to get in contact with the family of the late John Joseph Gill, who is believed to be from Co Roscommon but who had lived in Birmingham for many years.

Mr Gill is believed to have been born in Roscommon on August 31, 1936.

He lived in residential and nursing homes from January 2008 and died at Orchard House nursing home in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, on November 25.

Ian Coxhead of Birmingham City Council said there is very little information about Mr Gill and they have launched a social media appeal to try to locate family members in a bid to respect his funeral wishes.

“We believe he was a brother to, maybe, eight other siblings, but apart from that we know very little,” Mr Coxhead told RTÉ's News at One.

“I was told recently that he had no children and was never married, so we're looking for his siblings and we're trying to ensure that we meet the last wishes of John, and his family, in respect of how his funeral is dealt with.

"We've had a great deal of interest from people who want to assist and have looked for birth records and family information, but they haven't been able to come up with anything concrete.”

If no family members make contact, Mr Coxhead said Birmingham City Council will progress with funeral arrangements, although it would be preferred if Mr Gill’s relatives were involved in the process.

"We're aware that Mr Gill wished to be buried, so we will carry out a burial within the Birmingham area," he said.

"My experience of dealing with Irish families, and the passing of Irish people, is that, generally, family like to be involved and have on occasion taken over the funeral arrangements from ourselves.

"Which, if that is their wish, we would gladly assist with”.

Mr Coxhead added that this could be the last opportunity to identify Mr Gill’s siblings and involve them in his funeral arrangements.

"If someone comes forward after that, we'll be able to say we made every effort possible and at least be able to tell them what arrangements were made for the funeral.

"It's exceptionally sad and, unfortunately, it's not an unusual story. People do lose contact with relatives through movement, decisions, and family make up and break up. But, sadly, we are unable to find family on some occasions," he said.


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