Powerful message delivered by speakers at St John's Church, Kilkenny

400 people attend suicide awareness evening

Mary Cody

Reporter:

Mary Cody

Email:

mary.cody@kilkennypeople.ie

Powerful message delivered by speakers at St John's Church, Kilkenny

Kenneth Egan at St John's Church

A message of hope and understanding was delivered by two powerful speakers at an inspirational talk at St John’s Church on Wednesday evening.
Local woman, Teckie Brett shared the story of her beloved son, Neville who died by suicide in 2014. She spoke passionately about the need to speak out truthfully about suicide and added that the numbers recorded are lower than the reality.
A retired principal Mrs Brett added that early intervention is instrumental in helping young people learn the coping skills needed in life.
She remembered her kind and handsome son who loved cars and helped people out in a quiet and unassuming way delivered milk and bread to the elderly during bad weather and food to the homeless. She also praised the Aislinn Centre in Ballyragget where her son attended as a young man and found help and support.
This is the fifth annual Suicide Awareness Evening and the event touches a chord with many who have lost loved ones to suicide and also provides a lifeline to people affected by poor mental health.
Organised by Cllr Joe Malone and Aisling Keoghan the evening begins with the lighting of candles in a symbolic and poignant act of remembrance.
A group of youngsters from the Newpark Resource Centre performed a rousing rendition of Bill Wither’s Lean on Me.
The keynote speaker was Olympian Kenneth Egan, whose mother is orignally from Kilkenny City. The retired boxer, who considers himself ‘half a Cat' spoke to a packed church, with almost 400 people present.
The Olympian, who won a silver medal in the Bejing Olympics told of his fall from fame and his desperate dissent into alcoholism and despair. He spoke openly of the shame he has around his behaviour at the time of his drinking and the pain and sorrow that he inflicted on his loved ones and familu
Fortunately Kenneth sought support and is sober for the past seven years. He has also returned to education and now works as an addiction counsellor helping people who find themselves in difficulty. He is also a member of the Fine Gael Party and holds a seat on South Dublin County Council.
The talkers commanded the full attention of the audience and their stories were interspered with musicial interludes.
Trish Buggy and Alan Hayes also sang on the night and Billy Carrigan also played a haunting rendition of an Irish tune, which translated roughly as 'I am sleeping now, let me be'.
Cllr Malone thanked all those present for their continued support and the speakers for delivering such powerful accounts of their own experiences.