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Irish sisters turn to Britain in search for missing mother who they have not seen for 50 years

Eileen Gormley is determined to find her mother. (Picture: Gormley family)
Eileen Gormley is determined to find her mother. (Picture: Gormley family)

TWO Irish women who have not seen their mother in over 50 years are hoping the Irish community in Britain can help them locate her.

Sisters Eileen and Bridget Gormley, along with their late sister Rosaleen, were taken into care by nuns in Sligo when they were children.

Bridget, 54, has been searching far and wide for her missing mother since the early 1990s; while Eileen, 62, who spent 20 years living in Africa, is now also on the case.

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After extensive digging in Ireland, the two surviving sisters are turning to Britain in their bid to locate their mother, Nora Agnes Gormley.

“We’ve been up and down the countryside of Sligo but she seems to have just vanished,” Eileen Gormley told The Irish Post.

Nora (centre) pictured at a family wedding. (Picture: Gormley family)
Nora (centre) pictured at a family wedding. (Picture: Gormley family)

Nora was born on May 28, 1934 in Cloonseightrin, Co. Sligo. At the age of 20 she fell pregnant with Eileen and two more daughters followed.

Nora’s own mother died in November 1960 – not long before she had her third child in January 1961.

All three girls were later taken into the care of the industrial school in nearby Banada.

“When I was about 15, a woman came up to me in Tubbercurry one day and asked was I Nora’s daughter,” said Eileen.

“I was scared so I just left but that was the last we heard about her.”

If she is alive today, Nora would be 82 next month – and the sisters believe there is a good chance that she is, as no death certificate has been found.

A recent story by The Irish Post gave them fresh hope that they could locate their mother.

“My sister read about the Kelly twins online and decided to get in touch with Padraic from Finders,” Eileen explained.

The Irish Post’s Kelly twins story made national headlines in Ireland after going online and the publicity led a cousin in their native Cork to come forward.

Their family links were verified by genealogy organisation Finders – who have now come on board in the Gormley case.

“We can’t find a death certificate anywhere so there is a good chance that Nora is still alive,” Padraic Grennan, business development manager at Finders’ Irish branch, said.

Nora Gormley had siblings who lived in London, which has led the sisters to believe she may have come to Britain at some point.

Bridget as a child in Banada. (Picture: Gormley family)
Bridget as a child in Banada. (Picture: Gormley family)

“I made contact with her siblings who lived over in London and found loads of cousins,” Bridget said.

“Some of them remember hearing bits about my mother but we haven’t had any clues.

“I tried the London Irish Centre too but they couldn’t find an NHS number for her or anything in their records.”

The Gormley sisters, who grew up in the industrial school in Banada, Co. Sligo, still believe there is a chance she could have come to Britain.

“She had brothers and sisters there and a lot of women back then in her situation would have went over that way,” Eileen said.

The sisters claim growing up a missing mother and no family has left them feeling as though something is missing from their lives.

“The insecurity of it is the worst thing,” Bridget revealed.

“I still don’t talk about my upbringing. Most people talk about their parents and I always find it embarrassing. A lot of people have no idea about my childhood.

“Anyone who knows anything or thinks they might have come across her somewhere over the years can get in touch. It would give us some sort of clue as to where she went.”

If you have information regarding Nora Agnes Gormley or can help the Gormley Sisters with their search please contact or call 0208 900 4354


James Mulhall

James Mulhall is a reporter with The Irish Post. Follow him on Twitter @JamzMulhall

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