Edel Mahady’s elderly mother was listening to the six o’clock news last Thursday when she heard that a plane had crashed on its way to Kuala Lumpur.
She began to worry that her daughter was on the plane.
Edel had spent two weeks with her mother, Monica Byrne, before taking the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 that was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 crew and passengers on board.
The mother of two visited her mother in Palmerstown, Dublin, several times a year and was on the second leg of her journey back to Perth via Kuala Lumpur when the airline crashed.
Palmerstown parish priest, Fr Tony Reilly, said Edel was very good to her mother.
“She used to come over a few times a year to be with her and she only left the house on Wednesday night to stay at the airport and catch a flight out of Dublin on Thursday morning.
“And then her mother was listening to the six o’clock news and first heard that a plane had crashed on the way to Kuala Lumper and she began to worry that she (Edel) was on the plane.”
Fr Reilly said Edel’s mother was elderly and more or less housebound.
“In fact, only last week Edel had contacted a woman from the parish office and made arrangements for a Eucharistic minister to bring her mother the Eucharist every Sunday morning.”
Her family described Edel as an Irish version of a “tiger mother” because she took care of everyone around her.
She was devoted to and immeasurably proud of her husband, Derek, a senior administrator working in the area of disabled sports, son, Conor and daughter, Ciara.
“Edel’s fierce love of her family was evident in her support of her siblings through constant communication and regular visits to care for her elderly mother,” they said.
After emigrating to Australia as a newlywed, Edel gathered a group of friends to her and came to regard them as her Australian family.
For 14 years she was the bursar/office manager at Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School while working as a fitness instructor at Fitness First in Cannington and Myaree.
In a statement, her family said she saw the best in people, did not put up with any nonsense and spoke with honesty and conviction.
“She was innovative, persistent and champion of those who were struggling,” they said.
Her family said she would be heartbroken to know how saddened they were by her death.
“She would not want anyone to waste time on hating those who did this. Rather, she would be expecting us to ‘suck it up’ and make sure we looked after those who need it and to live fully.”
Her family have asked for privacy to grieve for a beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend.
President Michael D Higgins has expressed the deepest sympathy of the Irish people to all the families and communities affected by the crash.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said it was essential that an independent international investigation into the airline crash should be established as quickly as possible.
Mr Flanagan said the incident would be high on the agenda when he attended a meeting of the European Council of Foreign Ministers in Brussels tomorrow .
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