‘She was so happy to see us’: Irish mother who survived shooting in Darwin, Australia is reunited with family

Social worker Eileen Gibbons (38) is recovering after receiving the incident involving her ex partner

There were joyous scenes in a hospital ward in Darwin, Australia on Friday when injured social worker Eileen Gibbons and her one-year-old daughter Silvia were reunited with members of her family from Co Mayo.

The 38-year-old last week sustained a wound after being shot by her ex partner, Ralph Donald. After shooting Ms Gibbons, Mr Donald (38) is believed to have turned the gun on himself. He was pronounced dead after armed Northern Territory Police officers arrived at around 6.30pm on October 3rd.

Ms Gibbons was rushed to Royal Darwin Hospital with severe abdominal injuries following the incident.

Amid smiles and hugs, she met her mother, Anne, and aunt, Marian Langan, for the first time since her ordeal. Her mother, aunt and a cousin had travelled from Castlebar to the north Australian city to be at her bedside.


“Eileen is conscious and talking,” Ms Langan said. “She was so happy to see us, as we were to see her. We are so relieved that she is on the road to recovery.”

Although her injuries are very serious, Ms Gibbons, who emigrated to Australia seven years ago, is on a route to recovery, but the process will take time.

According to family, the long-term plan is to eventually bring the Ms Gibbons and Silvia back to Ireland, but she will require prolonged medical care in Australia before that can happen.

After the emotional preliminaries, the young woman, with Silvia on the bed beside her, posed for photos with her mother and aunt.

Ms Langan brought with her a copy of this week’s print edition of the Connaught Telegraph for Ms Gibbons to read while recovering. The paper’s lead story focuses on the huge response to the GoFund me appeal started by a relative, Enda O’Brien, to raise monies for Ms Gibbons’ medical care and rehabilitation.

“Eileen is deeply grateful for all the love shown her and Silvia shown her both at home in Ireland and in Australia following her ordeal,” Ms Lanigan said.

Ms Gibbons has four siblings, two brothers and two sisters. Her mother, Anne, works in a local retail outlet. Her father, Sean, a retired ambulance driver, died in May 2021.