Inishowen doctor says suicide is a ‘terrible blight’


Moville-born Dr Denis McCauley.

Moville-born Dr Denis McCauley.

The Inishowen-born coroner of Donegal has described suicide as a ‘terrible blight’ on the county, particularly on those aged 25 and under.

Dr Denis McCauley, from Moville, says he is dealing with an alarming number of inquests involving deaths by suicide.

A GP based in Stranorlar, Dr McCauley has presided over sixteen deaths by suicide in his first three years as coroner – that figure does not include Inishowen suicides however, which were handled by the recently retired Dr John Madden.

Speaking at the inquest of thirteen-year-old Ballybofey girl Erin Gallagher, who took her own life in October 2012, Dr McCauley says the suicide rate in Donegal is higher than the national average.

“The most common age of deaths is among people aged under 25. We have a terrible blight,” he said.

“We have a suicide rate which is higher than the national average and it’s affecting a disproportionate group.”

Quigley’s Point mother Claire McMonagle, who lost her son to suicide six months ago, says we must remove the stigma that continues to surround mental health issues here.

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Donna Roddy