By Jack Holland
The remains of a 35-year-old construction worker from County Sligo who died in the World Trade Center attack were returned to his home parish this week after their discovery on Tuesday, March 19, during recovery work at Ground Zero.
Kieran Gorman was employed by Structuretone had been working near the top of the south tower on the morning of Sept. 11.
A close relative said that he had just returned from Ireland, where he had gone to accompany his wife, Anne, and two children back from vacation. Anne was six months pregnant at the time.
Kieran Gorman arrived back in New York on Sunday, Sept. 9. The relative said he was not supposed to go back to work until later in the week but had been called in early “to oblige a friend.”
“That was typical of the man,” said Fr. Tom Johnson, who knew the victim for 28 years and who preached at the memorial service held for him last December. “He wanted to help.”
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A relative said that Gorman was working with block layers doing renovations on the south tower when he heard the first hijacked aircraft, Flight 11, crash into the Tower 1. He called his wife to tell her he was going to try to get out. A foreman who had been working with Gorman had left a little earlier to meet some newly arriving workers on the ground floor. He survived. Gorman was a member of Local 79 New York City Laborers. Three other members of the union died in the attack.
Gorman had grown up in the parish of Achonry-Mullinabreena, about 17 miles southwest of Sligo town. He had worked in the Connaught Gold Farmers’ Cooperative.
He is remembered as a Gaelic football enthusiast who played along with two of his brothers on the local team, and once for the county team. He moved to New York in 1993 and lived in the Woodlawn area of the Bronx. He was the father of three children, Barry, 3, Gavin, 18 months, and Kieran, who was born in November some two months after his father’s death. According to family members, Gorman was saving up to move back to Sligo either this year or next.
His widow, accompanied by his two brothers, came to New York last weekend to bring home his remains. A funeral Mass was held at the Sacred Heart Church in his home parish on Wednesday, March 26.
“The fact of not knowing compounded the grief,” Fr. Johnson said. He hoped that the burial will “bring closure to the mourning.”
“In Ireland we say that a child born after his father’s death carries a cure,” Johnson said. “Kieran [Jr.] has already activated his. He has brought a tremendous joy into the family.”
Kieran Gorman is also survived by three brothers, a sister and his mother. His uncles Mike and Joe are well known in the New York area. Mike Gorman now semi-retired was a bar owner in the Bronx and active in the County Sligo Association.