Dundalk FC manager Stephen Kenny has strongly criticised Minister of Health James Reilly for not doing enough to tackle the scourge of suicide that has swept the country.
“The minister’s response has been inadequate,” Mr Kenny said at Oriel Park last Friday when it was announced that the Dundalk manager is now a patron of SOSAD (Save Our Sons and Daughters) the voluntary organisation set up by Drogheda man Peter Morone to help people with mental health problems.
“SOSAD is filling a gap that has not been filled,” Mr Kenny said. “When Peter approached me to become a patron I couldn’t refuse. We need to get the message out there that there is always hope.
“People need someone to talk to. It can save a life. It’s a brilliant thing.”
The announcement of Mr Kenny’s patronage was attended by students from St Vincent’s secondary school, Colaiste Ris, and members of Dundalk Fire Brigade, who were on call, but they took the time to attend.
Also present were Dundalk town councillors Conor Keelan and Sean Bellew.
Peter Moroney, founder of SOSAD, said the organisation is counselling 300 people a week, but the main problem it faces is the stigma attached to mental illness.
He said if that obstacle could be removed and people came forward, many lives could be saved.
He founded the organisation after his own son committed suicide at the age of just 16 and he realised that the structure was not there to help people in difficulty.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” he said, “even as a Drogheda man, that the Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny is joining us.
The support of Mr Kenny comes at the righ time. Most of our suicide victims are young men. So who better to get the message across that its manly to talk about it, than the man who is bringing so much success to Dundalk FC? This is World Suicide Prevention Week. and this publicity greatly helps.