Appeal For Former Sheffield Public Works Department Colleagues To Help With Asbestos Investigation

Daughter Of Painter Speaks Out To Raise Awareness of Hazards at Work


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The daughter of a painter and decorator who died of a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos while at work is appealing for his former colleagues from the Sheffield Public Works Department to help with an investigation into his death.

John Gormley, known to his work colleagues as “Irish Sean”, died from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer affecting the lining of his lungs in October 2013, aged 87.

The family instructed specialist asbestos lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate John’s exposure to the deadly dust. His daughter Katrina Slater is representing the family as they seek justice for his death and together with her solicitors, is appealing for anyone who may have worked with her father to come forward as they may be able to provide vital information to aid the case.

John was born in Northern Ireland and came over to live in Walkley, Sheffield with his family in around 1964 and began working for the Sheffield Public Works department from about 1965 for 30 years as a painter and decorator. 

John’s work often took him into schools and hospitals where he believed that he may have come into contact with asbestos while brushing and sanding down materials prior to painting.
Katrina, 50, who also lives in Sheffield, said: “My father worked as a painter and decorator in Sheffield for all of his working life in England.  He was well known and well liked and was quite a character, who enjoyed going out to local pubs with his friends.  

“He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in April 2013, and he died only six months later. I just want to raise awareness about the hazards of asbestos for the benefit of others who, like my father, may come into contact with asbestos unknowingly during the course of their work.”  

Simone Hardy, a specialist asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said:

Expert Opinion
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lung lining most commonly caused by asbestos exposure. It takes decades from the asbestos exposure for any disease to develop, which can make it difficult to trace former work colleagues.”

“We are appealing for anyone who remembers John Gormley, or “Irish Sean” as he was often known, to get in touch to help us gather evidence about his exposure to asbestos to help the family achieve justice on his behalf.

“Asbestos materials were frequently found in buildings such as schools and hospitals and if Irish Sean, regularly disturbed the asbestos materials by sanding them prior to painting or if he painted sections of asbestos lagged pipe work then this is the likely source of his asbestos exposure and the cause of his illness.”
Simone Hardy, Associate

Anyone who worked at the Sheffield Public Works Department between 1965 and 1995 and who remembers ‘Irish Sean’ is asked to contact Simone Hardy at Irwin Mitchell on 0114 274 4420 or e-mail

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Mesothelioma Claims.