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Fianna Fáil TD becomes emotional in Dáil speaking about death of young man by suicide

Lisa Chambers was speaking during a Dáil debate on her party’s Bill to strengthen the rights of mental health patients.

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A FIANNA FÁIL TD became emotional in the Dáil today as she spoke about a 21-year-old friend who died by suicide last year.

Lisa Chambers was speaking during a Dáil debate on her party’s Bill to strengthen the rights of mental health patients.

The Mental Health (Amendment) (No 2) Bill, introduced by Fianna Fail TD James Browne, was passed through the Dáil today.

The House does not usually sit on a Friday, but an extra sitting day was added in order to get an additional 12 pieces of legislation through before the summer recess.

Ben Garrett 

During her contribution, Chambers spoke about the impact the death of the Defence Forces Private Ben Garrett, who was from her own town of Castlebar and was a close friend of her brother and sister.

Garrett was involved in the local boxing club, with Chambers telling the chamber that his death had a huge impact on the community.

Chambers, who is the party’s spokesperson for defence, said when Garrett took his own life in Galway, everyone turned out to search for him and his belongings.

“The boxing club were involved and all his school friends were involved. They were walking along the edge of the river Corrib searching for his belongings and searching for Ben,” she said.

She became emotional when speaking about the impact his death had on friends and family.

“The impact… the impact that that had on… those younger people, my brother in particular and my sister.

“I recall Ben’s mother took them aside and told them ‘remember the impact this has on families. Talk to somebody. Tell us about the difficulties you’re having and for God’s sake stay away from drugs and alcohol.’”

She said Garrett always gave the impression that he was confident and happy.

“But clearly underneath he was in a lot of trouble and if only we had taken more time to talk about it, maybe if there wasn’t such stigma attached, that it was more okay to talk about mental health,” she added.

Chambers said a lot more people are talking openly about their mental health, and that is one of the positives.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

  • Aware 1800 804848 (depression, anxiety)

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

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833634 (for ages 13 to 19)

  • Childline 1800 666666 (for under 18s) 

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