Published Saturday, 19 July 2014
Edel Mahady moved to Australia as a newlywed. (© Family Photo)
Pro-Russian rebels are being blamed for shooting down the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200, which was carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
More than 100 of those killed on flight MH17 were delegates on their way to an international conference on AIDS in Melbourne, Australia.
Edel Mahady was returning to Australia following a visit to her mother in Dublin when the plane was attacked.
The mother of two was originally from Palmerstown in west Dublin but had moved to Australia around 20 years ago.
Her family described Edel as a caring and devoted mother and wife who was "immeasurably proud" of her husband Dereck and children Conor and Ciara.
"If there was an Irish version of a 'tiger mother' Edel was it," a statement to RTÉ said.
"Edel's fierce love of her family was evident in her support of her siblings through constant communication and regular visits to care for her elderly mother. After immigrating to Australia as a newlywed, Edel gathered a group of friends and came to regard them as her Australian family.
"Edel's enthusiasm for living life was evident in the fact she held two jobs that had a great impact on two communities.
Edel's personality and quality of her work positively affected generations of teachers and children in the Kelmscott area.
"For 14 years she was the bursar/office manager at Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School whilst working as a fitness instructor at Fitness First in Cannington and Myaree.
"Her dedication to the health and wellbeing of those she trained was unfailing.
"She loved nothing more than to champion and mentor someone struggling to lose weight, eat healthier or increase their fitness.
"Edel didn't merely 'do' her work, her humour, strength, wisdom, joy and determination drove people to achieve their best.
"No one wanted to let Edel down, she saw the best in people, put up with no nonsense and spoke with honesty and conviction.
"She would be heartbroken to know how saddened we are by her death, she would not want anyone to waste time on hating those who did this rather she would be expecting us to 'suck it up' and make sure we looked after those who need it and to live fully."
Edel dealt with prince or pauper the same. She respected hard work, integrity and regarded failure as an opportunity to do better next time. She was innovative, persistent and a champion of those who were struggling.
Also among the 298 dead was Irish-Australian nun Sister Philomena Tiernan who worked at a school in Sydney.
She was returning home from a retreat in Paris.
Known as "Phil" to her friends she was born in Australia but had deep roots in Ireland, according to reports.
The bodies of passengers which have been strewn across the crash site for nearly 48 hours were finally being recovered by Ukraine authorities on Saturday.
Many of the bodies had been left uncovered, lying among the plane wreckage in an open field in the rebel-controlled area.
Ukraine officials have claimed "terrorists supported by Russia" were trying to destroy evidence at the site and accused rebels of taking 38 bodies to a mortuary to carry out their own post-mortem examinations.
© UTV News