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'I had a loaded gun and all sorts of thoughts' - TD opens up about struggles with depression

Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran described his struggles in an emotional Late Late Show interview.

boxer Kevin 'Boxer' Moran Source: RTÉ

WESTMEATH TD KEVIN ‘Boxer’ Moran has spoken out about his struggles with illiteracy and depression, which led to a suicide attempt when he was a young man.

The Independent Alliance TD is shortly to take up a ministerial post at the OPW, and said that it was important in advance of that to let people know about his problems with dyslexia.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Late Late Show, Moran described how he left secondary school “after a number of days”.

“I felt like I couldn’t do what other people could do,” he said. He said that he was speaking publicly about his struggles due to “rumblings” regarding his education in Dáil Éireann.

“I suppose that since I’ve got to the Dáil I’ve heard rumblings on and off in relation to my education. People have been condemning the government, and I heard one particular person saying (on the radio) ‘if you want to sum up this Dáil, we’ve an incoming minister that hasn’t even got his Junior Cert’.”

That affects me because there are hundreds of people out there saying ‘you can’t get a job, you can’t represent your country’. I was very annoyed because I know so many people that suffer just like me and some are afraid to come out. I was very vexed.
I was embarrassed, and humiliated and hurt. I just felt that with people working in the Dáil, like I know most journalists working up there, if someone had come to me and asked about my problems I would have told them. I don’t know if there was gossiping, but there was chat.

Moran spoke of how entering local politics in Athlone (of which he subsequently became Mayor) without being able to read and write was “a very big thing for me”.

Source: The Late Late Show/YouTube

Dark time

He went on to describe a dark time in his life, before he entered politics, when he came close to taking his own life in the wake of his brother’s death, something “my wife says I never really got over”.

“I was about 22 or 23, and I’d gone into business with my partners because of my problems with reading and writing. I had a lot of problems at the time. And I developed panic attacks,” he said.

It was on a Sunday afternoon at a clay pigeon shoot, every second Sunday we’d be training for a shoot, this particular Sunday we’d been shooting, and I left the lads off at the pub and headed for home. But on this particular day I didn’t go left for home, I went right instead. The depression was so severe inside me, I had a loaded gun and all sorts of thoughts are going through your head. Then I had a blackout.

“I hear from so many people affected through suicide, and so many people and families have gone through it, well it was facing me on that particular day,” he said, adding that “I did pull the trigger, and maybe it was my brother above watching over me, but I was in the van, and I pushed the gun away”.

I pointed it (the gun) at my face but I pushed it away, and the bullet shattered the window in the van. I was in bits for a long, long time. I got home, and I was crying, and then my wife Michelle came and found me and she was crying, and she asked me what was wrong, and she rang the doctor.

Moran said that for anyone suffering the same way, the important thing is to seek help.

“My family and friends and partner were absolutely tremendous to me,” he said.

We look at suicide, and in this country we have this habit when it happens of not talking. But there’s help out there, there’s help for everything nowadays.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)

  • Pieta House 1800 247247 or email mary@pieta.ie – (suicide, self-harm)

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: ‘It’s disappointing that there are no women in the race and no possibility for first woman Taoiseach’

Read: Simon and Leo beware – not everyone who inherits a country ends up enjoying it

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