The parents of a young man who died after taking drugs at a music festival earlier this month have revealed how they brought his friends into his hospital room to see what the illegal substances had done to their son.
Jack Downey (19) died three days after taking what is believed to have been ecstasy/MDMA at the Indiependence festival in Mitchelstown, Cork over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.
His parents Elaine and Johnny Downey from Clonmel, Co Tipperary have revealed how they felt ‘duty-bound’ to show what drugs had done to their son.
"They all saw Jack tubed up and wired up. There was a shock factor," Mr Downey said. "He was on dialysis. His liver was totally destroyed. All his organs had failed."
"We were duty-bound to let every single person who came to that hospital see how Jack Downey, the fine man that he was, was destroyed. Destroyed by what happened," Mrs Downey said.
"When the last of the boys had said goodbye, Jack had a tear in his eye," she said.
Mrs Downey said she remains concerned that young people are taking risks with drugs.
"Many young people today are different from how our lives used to be. They want a buzz. Many of them are sensible, educated, bright young people with great futures," she the Sunday Independent. "But all it takes is one big mistake and the results are awful and horrendous. And there is always someone there preying on them," she said.
"We can't let what happened to Jack happen to any other boy or girl. People have to stand up and speak. The young need to look out for each other. And people should be willing to pull youngsters aside if they are doing what they shouldn't be doing, even if they get a tongue-lashing for intervening. We are all too casual about what is going on among young people in Ireland," she said.
Local priest Fr Michael Toomey said Jack's funeral mass and spoke of his own concerns around young people's drug use.
"Drugs are often cheaper and easier to obtain than cigarettes and alcohol for a young person. You need ID to get tobacco and alcohol. No dealer needs ID when it comes to selling their gear," he said.
Mrs Downey revealed that her last interaction with her son was as she knocked on her son's bedroom door, on her way out to work on the Friday morning of the festival.
She said she told him to "Mind yourself and don't do anything quare."
"Mam, I love you. You're my best friend," he replied.