red tape hell | 

Terminally ill Irishman in Oz begs authorities to let family into country to help him

A devastated Shane has been told he has anywhere between 15 months and three years to live
Shane McGeough, his partner Michelle and their daughter Harlow are currently living in Adelaide

Shane McGeough, his partner Michelle and their daughter Harlow are currently living in Adelaide

By Gerry Hand

An Australia-based Irishman with a brain tumour has appealed to the country’s department of Home Affairs to let family come to help him.

Shane McGeough from Kells, Co Meath, who turned 38 on Friday, begged Aussie officials: "Please let my partner’s mum come over here as well, right now we need all the support around us that we can get."

Shane’s mum Cathy tugged at the nation’s heartstrings when she appeared on RTE’s Claire Byrne Live last Monday to reveal that red tape was denying her the chance to be with her only child when he most needed her.

Cathy has since been granted a travel exemption, but Mary Farrell, the mother of Shane’s partner, Michelle has not.

Shane McGeough with his mum Cathy

Shane McGeough with his mum Cathy

Devastated Shane, who has been told he has anywhere between 15 months and three years to live, told the Sunday World: "I understand the pressure they’re under and how strict they are. We know, we’ve spent years and a lot of money to get to where we are here in Australia, but they need to be more lenient and sensitive to situations like this to help people whose family live abroad get the support they need.

"We haven’t seen our families since Christmas 2019 when Michelle and I brought our daughter Harlow back to Ireland to meet our families and have her christened.

"Do we feel frustrated over the delay? Absolutely we do, but we will do our best to try get both of them here as we really need the support of both of them. It’s extremely tough when you are faced with something like this in your life.

“When my mum arrives it seems she may have to quarantine for a further fortnight in a government-approved centre, which all adds to the stress on everyone.

“We are actually Covid free here in Adelaide with still some restrictions in place. Most of the other states are not as lucky as south Australia and Western Australia, so the longer delay is kind of maddening really.

“Both of us really need our mothers with us, there are practical reasons as well as emotional ones. Michelle and my mum could come with me when I am getting the radiation and chemotherapy treatment and Mary would take care of Harlow.

“But as you canimagine, Michelle just needs to hug her mum and it’s just awful that she can’t, I can’t emphasise enough how vital it is for both of them to be able to travel.

“Harlow is nearly two and a half. Both grannies visited us here in Australia soon after she was born and now we need both of them to be here again.”

The Meath man then revealed how he was told the dreadful diagnosis.

“A few weeks ago I felt as though I had a mouth ulcer and I noticed that I was struggling to pronounce some words and thought it might have been a possible flare up of my asthma, which I’ve not had a problem with for a very long time.

“Upon seeing the doctor I was referred for a CT brain scan, where they found a lesion, I went for an MRI the following day and that’s when I found out the news that I needed to see a neurosurgeon for a biopsy on the tumour resulting in my diagnosis.

“Michelle was there from the beginning, and we went through it all together. It isn’t the easiest of news to tell anyone and was made harder to do through FaceTime.

“I don’t normally struggle for words but that day I did and I think I eventually just blurted it out, it was the hardest thing I have ever had to tell anyone.”

Shane, who moved to Australia nine years ago, added: “To be denied access to family support by red tape is the cruellest cut of all, so if there is anyone back home can help get Michelle’s mother over to us I’d ask them to do whatever it takes.

“We both need our mothers right now.”

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