Kerry dad grieves as daughter (2) drowns in Oz tragedy

The parents of two-year-old Anna Greaney – who tragically drowned last week in Portarlington, Geelong, Australia – have praised the communities in Australia and Kerry for the support they’ve afforded them during the darkest days in their lives.

ittle Anna – whose father, Patrick, is a native of Clochán, West Kerry – was reported missing at about 1pm last Thursday. She had gone to the beach, not far from the family home, with her father and two of her three siblings when she went missing. Patrick immediately raised the alarm.

“Last Thursday my husband had taken our children to the beach as he usually does a few times a week,” Anna’s mother, Billee, told The Kerryman.

“This day it was unusually windy and rough water – we live in the bay so it is usually quite still – so Patrick wanted to take the kids out on the pier to see the waves bashing on it.”

The Kerryman understands that Anna briefly strayed from her family, who were unable to find her.

“He immediately rang me and I rushed down there to help look, and I called the police,” Billee said.

A number of fishermen assisted in the search at the pier. When police arrived, Billee spotted their little girl in the water. Patrick and police spent 15 minutes attempting to resuscitate the girl, and paramedics continued this work when they arrived at the scene. A helicopter arrived to transport her to Melbourne, but little Anna was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anna’s grandparents – Paudie and Noreen – live in Clochán, while she has aunts and uncles living in Clochán, Kilflynn, and Tralee. Anna never had the chance to visit Kerry; while a trip to Ireland had been planned, it had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Annie was the happiest little girl,” her parents told The Kerryman.

“She was just starting to grow into a little girl and gain a very playful personality. She loved to dance and just loved doing whatever her big brother and sisters were doing.

“She was her daddy’s little girl and loved going to the beach with the whole family. She was the youngest of our children and was just a perfect last child…she knew nothing but love and being loved.

“We are heart-broken that our Anna is no longer here for us to hold, but we know God has a plan and [are] so thankful for the two wonderful years we had with her.”

The couple paid tribute to paramedics and police who “did a phenomenal job”, and similar thanks were expressed to fishermen and another woman who helped search at the pier. They also paid tribute to the communities in Kerry and in Kyabram, Australia.

A GoFundMe page titled ‘Beautiful Anna has gone home to Jesus’ has been set up by Billee’s sister to support the family and has raised more than $32,000 in four days. Part of this funding will be used to help Patrick visit Kerry to grieve with his family in the coming weeks.

“By the time we became aware of the GoFundMe a couple of days later, it was already over $20,000, and we were shocked,” the couple said. “We have felt so loved and supported and want to thank anybody who has contributed money, made us meals, cried with us or even said a prayer for us. Each and every one of you has made this horrific journey a little easier.”

Anna Greaney’s Funeral will take place on Thursday, September 10. She is also survived by her elder siblings Eliza (10), Nate (5), and Miranda (4). – News