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Family of Cork farmer who died by suicide appeal for people suffering to seek help

A Cork family who lost their father to suicide are appealing to those who are struggling to reach...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

14.07 12 Dec 2020


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Family of Cork farmer who died...

Family of Cork farmer who died by suicide appeal for people suffering to seek help

Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

14.07 12 Dec 2020


Share this article


A Cork family who lost their father to suicide are appealing to those who are struggling to reach out for help.

Paddy McCarthy, who was a farmer, died by suicide in May of this year.

His family had no idea that he was suffering with his mental health and his death came as a huge shock.

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Paddy's son Thomas said "he loved life and never spoke about having any mental health issues or if he was feeling down".

Thomas was in Canada when he heard the news and said finding out while being abroad was "absolutely horrific".

He had to travel home alone, which took 25 hours, in the middle of a pandemic and said he would not wish the experience on anyone.

He told Newstalk Breakfast about the tragedy and appealed to those going through emotional distress to reach out for help.

On the morning of his death, Paddy was on the farm with Thomas's sister Rachel carrying out the usual jobs he did every day.

He then drove to the local village and went to the graveyard where he took his own life.

Paddy was found on the grave of his mother and younger sibling Tom who had died years before.

Family of Cork farmer who died by suicide appeal for people suffering to seek help

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Thomas said: "Dad was an identical triplet, and on April 15th, 1968, Tom was killed tragically in a farming accident.

"I don't think Dad ever dealt with that emotional trauma and he didn't really seek help afterwards.

"My uncle Gus would have witnessed it as well as my father, but Gus went and sought professional help in his 30s.

"But Dad never did and he said he would be fine and he would keep on working but I don't think he ever dealt with that and I think it might have been a contributing factor to unfortunately his own suicide."

'He couldn't live without her'

Thomas believes that the death of his grandmother, Paddy's mother, in 2018 may also have adversely impacted on his father's mental health.

He said the pair were very close and when she died, there was "a huge hole left in the family".

He explained: "They had an amazing relationship, she lived next door so they saw each other multiple times a day his entire life and he loved her so much.

"I think when she passed away he was so heartbroken, and I know for a fact if she was alive he wouldn't have done what he did.

"She meant that much to him and he just couldn't live without her."

Thomas said his Dad was also affected by lockdown and not being able to go to Kinsale for dancing and meeting his friends at the weekends which had been his outlet.

He added: "Once that's all taken away the tension builds up and it's really hard to find another outlet."

Because of the restrictions around COVID-19, only ten people were allowed in the church for Paddy's funeral.

Thomas said it was really hard that people couldn't even come to their house to sympathise and it "just made things much more surreal" not having friends and family around when they needed them most.

He believes that farmers, in particular, bottle up their feelings and that the profession is "isolating and lonely at the best of times, never mind during a pandemic".

Thomas and his family have been fundraising for Pieta house since Paddy's death in the hopes that raising money might help others struggling with their mental health.

Their GoFundMe page raised €32,000 and Thomas said they were we were "blown away by people’s generosity".

If you been affected by the issues raised in this article, you can freephone Pieta on 1800 247 247 or the Samaritans on 116 123

Main image: File photo. Credit: PA

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