Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Gerry Adams - a caring society

The women, who have set up the Circle of Hope suicide support group on the northside of Cork City, issued their plea yesterday, as Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams met them and several other groups involved in suicide support programmes.
They told Mr Adams, and his party’s two candidates in Cork North Central, TD Jonathan O’Brien and Thomas Gould, how five young people in one small area of Ballyvolane and Dublin Hill died by suicide within a few months of each other in 2013.

Link for video:
Gerry Adams in Limerick - Irish Examiner

“It was a horrible year — one after the other. Our group came out of that,” said Lynda Haynes.
Her son, Corey O’Callaghan, died by suicide three weeks before his 21st birthday. Fiona Mackey’s son, John, took his own life a few months later. He was 14.
Ms Haynes said the pain never leaves, but having a support group, where people can talk and remember their loved ones, helps them cope.

“Everyone knew Corey. He was just an old soul. It was like he was here before. He gave his heart and time to everyone. He was so happy-go-lucky,” she said.

Corey left a note in which he said he had the best friends. “But he also said he had pain — pain we didn’t see,” said Ms Haynes.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams waving to some of the staff and children looking out the window from the Little Learners Educare room as he left following a visit to Togher Family Centre, Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane

“I think he just got tired. He counselled a lot of people. The one person he needed to help was himself.”
Ms Mackey said John left two notes for his family.
“He didn’t do this to cause us pain. It was to get rid of his own pain, but we don’t know what that pain was. Only for this support group. I wouldn’t be here,” she said.
Both women told Mr Adams they want politicians to commit to mental health awareness campaigns.
“Money doesn’t come into it. We fundraise ourselves. We just want them to commit to awareness,” said Ms Haynes.
Mr Adams praised the support groups and called for an all-island approach to tackling suicide, including the introduction of a sustained advertising campaign modelled on road-safety campaigns.
“These groups can take some succour from the fact that even though some of them have lost loved ones, they have saved a lot of other people by the work they are doing,” he said.
“There are people alive today who would otherwise be dead only for the advocacy work and awareness work they are doing.”
Statistics show 459 people — 368 men and 91 women — took their own lives in Ireland last year, but the real suicide figure could be as high as 1,000.
“Despite the fact that 644,000 people — one in seven adults — have experienced mental-health issues in the last year, successive governments have neglected the mental health area,” said Mr Adams. He said if Sinn Féin was in government, it would increase the mental health budget in year one by €35m, complete the rollout of suicide crisis assessment nurses, and reverse cuts to guidance counsellors.
By Irish examiner reporter Eoin English

My own experience during the twenty-five years that I have lived in this part of Ireland, is that I have known several people from different walks of life who have taken their own lives and when the financial downturn came that number unfortunately grew.


  1. Mental health help is a joke here, Ronald Reagan gutted it in the 80's. Hopefully Ireland will have better luck addressing this problem.

  2. I hope societies learn to address mental health issues intelligently and generously.

    1. In the ideal and civilised world it would not be a problem.

  3. Mental health is a sorely neglected area in the UK too, and has been ever since I can remember (when I was a teenager 50 years ago). Cameron is promising huge improvements in mental health treatment and pots of money but I know from experience that many governments have made equally dramatic promises that are never fulfilled. If you're mentally ill, it's still very much a case of "fend for yourself". It's good to see groups like the Circle of Hope suicide supporting those who have lost someone to suicide.

    1. Thank you for your comment and interest Nick. I do recall that on Maggie Thatcher watch, the Mental Health care really slumped.

  4. Mental illness is actively demonised here almost as if the gov is pushing people to suicide. People with mental health issues are the largest group suffering benefit sanctions therefore leaving them sometimes for months without any money at all, they make up a huge proportion of the homeless and what does this government do? Cut the mental health care budget back to the bones. It is even worse for children with mental health issues, there is very, very little help available at all. It is a sorry society that cannot look after its most vulnerable.

    1. Strange isn't it on how the war chest is always full, that there is always plenty of oil to go to war with, plenty of money to build new and destructive weapons.
      Never ever anything left to spend on improving lives unless a profit can be made.... Sickening !