Community in shock after tragic death of Cork boy

The HSE and children's’ charity Barnardos are providing supports to the family and school friends of an 11-year-old boy who died by suspected suicide in Cork city at the weekend writes Eoin English.

Gardaí are treating the death in the family home as a personal tragedy.

They have conducted a forensic examination of the home as part of a routine investigation launched into sudden deaths.

They are working to establish the full circumstances surrounding the tragedy which unfolded on Sunday night.

The results of a post mortem examination conducted on the boy’s body at Cork University Hospital (CUH) will also form a key part of the gardaí file which will be prepared in due course for the coroner’s court.

But gardaí stressed they are treating the death as a personal tragedy for the family involved.

Emergency services were called to a house on the southside of the city around 8pm on Sunday where they found the boy in critical condition in an upstairs bedroom.

He was treated at the scene and rushed by ambulance to CUH where he was pronounced dead later.

Parents of students who attend the school where he was a sixth class student were informed of the tragedy today.

Arrangements were put in place to provide a range of supports to the school community.

Local clergy, resource teachers and psychologists from Barnardos and the National Educational Psychological Services were on site, and will be there again today.

Experts from the HSE and the National Suicide Research Foundation met this afternoon to discuss the ongoing response to the tragedy.

In a statement later, a HSE spokesperson said they are aware of a tragedy in Cork city.

“Supports are being offered to those affected, and to a local school,” she said.

“Any support which we can offer to an individual, group, community or school will be made available.”

It is understood that various agencies are on standby to provide supports to other schools in the area, if required.

“For those in crisis, we would like to stress that round-the-clock psychiatric care is available at hospital Emergency Departments. Out of hours, this is provided by on-call psychiatrists,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Pieta House was among several suicide support agencies involved in a suicide awareness and prevention meeting for adults in Deerpark secondary school, also on the city’s south side, tonight.

The session was organised following several suspected suicide deaths in the Ballyphehane, Greenmount and Togher areas of the city, and following a recent multi-agency taskforce meeting in Cork City Hall to discuss the spike in the city’s suicide rates.

Local Cllr Mick Finn commended Deerpark for the initiative.

“Everybody in the community has role to play in awareness and prevention of suicide,” he said.

“Extra mental health services are needed and it’s up to central government to prioritise that - especially in the schools - but groups in the community can continue to show leadership.”

Separately, in his Christmas message, Bishop William Crean, the Bishop of Cloyne, remembered all who have died by suicide during the past year.

“We keep their families close this Christmas in our thoughts and prayers,” he said.

Pieta House, Cork: 021-4341400; Samaritans: 116 123; Aware: 1800 80 48 48; Childline: 1800 66 66 66.

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