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Grandmother in hotel quarantine denied border exemption for grandson's funeral

A grandmother in hotel quarantine has been left ‘heartbroken’ after her exemption to attend her grandson’s funeral was denied just two hours before he was laid to rest.

Sheryl Mulvey, of Victoria, applied for a border exemption and travelled to Townsville to attend 24-year-old Gage Hepburn’s funeral after he suddenly died on August 31.

She tested negative to COVID-19 and waited more than a week in hotel quarantine for an answer on whether she could attend.

But just two hours before Mr Hepburn’s service, Ms Mulvey received a knock at the door. She was be told she was unable to go. 

‘They gave me the option to go and have a viewing before the funeral, but I would have to wear a mask and all the precautionary gear,’ she told the Townsville Bulletin.

‘I couldn’t do something like that without my family with me.

‘I can’t understand the lack of empathy these people have. They’ve taken away something I can never get back, to say goodbye to my grandson.’ 

Sheryl Mulvey, of Victoria, applied for a border exemption and travelled to Townsville to attend 24-year-old Gage Hepburn's funeral after he suddenly died on August 31. Pictured: Ms Mulvery with her eldest grandson, Mr Hepburn

Sheryl Mulvey, of Victoria, applied for a border exemption and travelled to Townsville to attend 24-year-old Gage Hepburn’s funeral after he suddenly died on August 31. Pictured: Ms Mulvery with her eldest grandson, Mr Hepburn

Ms Mulvey, who has two daughters and a son in Townsville, was instead forced to watch her grandson’s funeral via videolink on Wednesday.

The whole ordeal had her feeling ‘devastated’, ‘angry’ and ‘ignored’.

‘This is so political. It sucks and is so not Australian,’ she said in a Facebook post the day before.

‘I realise I’m no one special but I am a special grandma to my first born grandson Gagey.

‘I will never again get the chance to say goodbye to my grandson.

‘I will never forgive these people. God help us Australia because no one else will.’

Ms Mulvey shared her frustration from hotel quarantine on social media and said she was 'devastated and angry' she was unable to attend her grandson's funeral. Pictured: Mr Hepburn

Ms Mulvey shared her frustration from hotel quarantine on social media and said she was ‘devastated and angry’ she was unable to attend her grandson’s funeral. Pictured: Mr Hepburn

Ms Mulvey’s situation has enraged the internet, with many labeling it as ‘cruel’, ‘nonsensical’, ‘a slap in the face’ and ‘absolutely appalling’.

‘This is criminal what they’re doing and I hope they all go down as the tyrants they are … especially that despicable Dan Andrews. They all make me sick,’ one commenter posted on Ms Mulvey’s post.

‘Of course you are special – just not in Dan and Palaszczuk’s eyes. My heart aches for you and I wish you strength during this difficult time,’ another said. 

‘Just a disgrace … my sincere condolences to you … This government appears to destroy lives and cause undue stress to many families. They select at their own pleasure who to give exemptions,’ a third commented. 

Ms Mulvey's situation has enraged the internet, with many labeling it as 'cruel', 'nonsensical', 'a slap in the face' and 'absolutely appalling'. Pictured: Comments under the grandmother's post

Ms Mulvey’s situation has enraged the internet, with many labeling it as ‘cruel’, ‘nonsensical’, ‘a slap in the face’ and ‘absolutely appalling’. Pictured: Comments under the grandmother’s post

Ms Mulvey’s situation comes as a Port Macquarie and Sydney-based family were denied visiting a Brisbane-based cancer patient due to Queensland’s strict border restrictions.

Truck driver Mark Keans faced the prospect of dying of brain and lung cancer without seeing his four children under the age of 13, who live in Sydney. 

Queensland health authorities denied the children an exemption to enter the state, despite their 39-year-old father’s imminent death. 

New South Wales officials proposed allowing one of the children to see Mr Keans for a supervised one-hour visit before being taken back across the border. 

Mark Keans - who has terminal cancer - pictured with his children (L-R) Noah 13, Caitlyn 11, Caleb 11, and Isaac, 7. His family have been quoted $16,000 in quarantine fees to travel to Queensland to say goodbye to him

Mark Keans – who has terminal cancer – pictured with his children (L-R) Noah 13, Caitlyn 11, Caleb 11, and Isaac, 7. His family have been quoted $16,000 in quarantine fees to travel to Queensland to say goodbye to him

Mr Keans’ father Bruce Langborne said Queensland authorities told him the children would be putting other cancer patients at risk if they all visited him one last time.

‘They said we were being selfish,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

The family has since been told they can drive into the state to visit Mr Keans but only if they pay for two weeks in hotel quarantine in Brisbane.

The state’s standard quarantine fees are $4,620 for two adults and two children.  

Mr Keans' sister said the family simply could not afford the cost involved in putting up 11 people in a hotel for two weeks

Mr Keans’ sister said the family simply could not afford the cost involved in putting up 11 people in a hotel for two weeks

All of Mr Keans' children are under the age of 13 and are 'desperate' to see him before he dies

All of Mr Keans’ children are under the age of 13 and are ‘desperate’ to see him before he dies

Ms Mulvey’s situation also follows a woman missing her father’s funeral, despite coming from COVID-free Canberra, quarantining in Brisbane and being near the service.

Sarah Caisip, 26, was unable to grieve with her sister Isobel Prendergast, 11, and mother Myrna Prendergast at the service, and was only allowed to view her deceased father Bernard Prendergast if she wore personal protective equipment. 

Ms Caisip, whose father died from cancer on September 2, was also barred from talking to her sister as she arrived at the Mount Gravatt cemetery – 20 minutes after the funeral finished. 

Sarah Caisip (pictured), 26, was unable to grieve with her sister Isobel Prendergast, 11, and mother Myrna Prendergast on the day, and was only allowed to view her deceased father Bernard Prendergast if she wore personal protective equipment

Sarah Caisip (pictured), 26, was unable to grieve with her sister Isobel Prendergast, 11, and mother Myrna Prendergast on the day, and was only allowed to view her deceased father Bernard Prendergast if she wore personal protective equipment

Ms Caisip was also barred from talking to her sister as she arrived at the Mount Gravatt cemetery - 20 minutes after the funeral finished. Pictured: Her sister Isobel Prendergast, 11, and mother Myrna Prendergast

Ms Caisip was also barred from talking to her sister as she arrived at the Mount Gravatt cemetery – 20 minutes after the funeral finished. Pictured: Her sister Isobel Prendergast, 11, and mother Myrna Prendergast

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Friday claimed she felt the pain of cases like Ms Caisip’s – a day after telling Parliament her case was determined by the state’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young. 

 ‘I feel these issues personally just like everybody else does,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.

‘I am human just like everyone else. These people are human beings as well. Who wouldn’t be touched by these cases? They are heartbreaking.’ 

Ms Palaszczuk told Queensland’s Legislative Assembly Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s call to her, pleading for Ms Caisip to be allowed to attend her father’s funeral, amounted to bullying. 

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