Varadkar ‘hopes climber missing on Everest can be found’

The Irish premier has said he hopes an Irish climber missing on Mount Everest can be found and brought home to his family.

Leo Varadkar said he had heard all about Seamus Lawless’s inspirational character and his thoughts were with his family at this difficult time.

Mr Varadkar voiced his commitment that authorities would do all they can to help in the search efforts.

The Trinity College professor, known to his friends as Shay, from Bray, Co Wicklow, fell during his descent from the peak last week having achieved a lifetime ambition of reaching the summit.

The Taoiseach made the remarks at the opening of Trinity College Dublin’s new 80 million euro business school on the campus.

“I’ve heard all about Shay’s inspirational character from people who have worked alongside him,” he said. “And I know that his research projects have been transformative in the worlds of history as well as computer science.

“His decision to climb Mount Everest to raise funds for Barretstown Children’s Charity exemplifies his character: courageous, determined, and always thinking of others.”

A new search got under way on Wednesday to locate the climber, aged 39, close to where he fell. Eight high-altitude Sherpa climbers are involved in the operation.

The Taoiseach said the Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney had been in close contact with Shay’s family and he said the authorities would assist them in whatever way possible.

“We will do all we can to help,” the Taoiseach told the professor’s colleagues gathered for the official opening of the six-storey building located on Pearse Street.

“Like all of you, I hope Shay can be found and brought home. And our thoughts are with Shay and his family and friends at this difficult time.”

The family of the father-of-one have launched a fundraising campaign to help finance expensive search and recovery efforts.

His relatives, who said Mr Lawless’s insurers were not assisting in the search, set up a GoFundMe page seeking the public’s help to raise the money needed to gather a team of Sherpas to find him.

It has a target of 750,000 euro (£660,000). In the first five days more than 265,000 euro (£230,000) had been pledged.

The climber was an assistant professor at the university’s School of Computer Science.

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