by Anne Heffernan
The tragic death by suicide of Conor Cribbin from Co. Galway is a huge indictment of the present government and the lack of importance they put on human life. As Coroner Dr. Ciaran MacLaughlin advised Conor’s family to contact the HSE to find out why they had recently refused renewal of the student’s medical card, he said, “This may be one of the consequences of austerity.” He gave the advice in the hope the family’s inquiries may assist others in a similar situation in the future, according to yesterday’s Irish Mirror.
I believe it is a disgrace that in all situations, balancing the books of our country seems to be the government’s sole objective. While no one can pin point the exact reason Conor Cribbin took his own life there have been suggestions, it may have had something to do with the fact that his medical card had been axed and that he recently heard he would not receive a college grant. The Irish Mirror has indicated that Conor suffered from ADHD and was on expensive, prescribed medication.
I believe it is a sad state of affairs that the mental health of the people of our nation is declining and those in authority are ignoring the signs. Their only aim appears to be focussed on the economic outlook at the expense of the social fabric of our society. Have they never heard the old adage, ‘your health is your wealth’. Or like in so many other areas of public life, they choose to ignore common sense. How does it make sense to deny people access to aids to their health and well-being in order to secure a smooth balance sheet.
At the end of the day, my belief is that ignoring our citizens’ health and emotional well-being will come back to haunt our politicians, as more and more people, suffer in silence, or choose to end their suffering by taking their own life, because they see no other way out of their predicament. Personally, I have already heard of a number of suicides that have occurred due to financial difficulties, yet our politicians haven’t thought to address the issue but continue with one austerity measure after another with no thought for the average citizen who has been struggling for longer than they are physically or mentally able.
Like Coroner Dr. Ciaran MacLaughlin I only hope Conor Cribbin’s death will open our politicians’ eyes to the tragedy that is happening every day, as a result of measures they are putting in place, without a thought for the vulnerable in our society.
People’s mental and emotional well-being must be given priority, whether it impinges on attempts to grow the economy or not. Human life has to be given the priority it deserves. And, individuals’ sufferings have to be taken seriously. If they aren’t we are doomed! And no amount of economic growth will change that fact.