‘Caoilte’s Story Is Not Uncommon’


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Niall Breslin, aka Bressie, before the Joint Committee on Health and Children in the Dáil this morning


“Over the past few months I’ve received a massive amount of communication from families of loved ones attempting to access our mental health services and I would not be doing them justice if I said it made for pretty reading. This, I understand, is highly complicated and sensitive but it’s a conversation that we have to have.

Only this month did I receive a deeply upsetting news that a young man, Caoilte, who is a family member of a friend of mine, was found dead in the River Liffey.

He took his own life after enduring years of unexplainable pain. Many times the family tried to access help but they were refused because the young man was consuming alcohol and told he could not be helped because of his drinking – which was intrinsically linked to his mental health illness.

In a country that celebrates and promotes alcohol through it’s culture, it’s simply not acceptable that someone is turned away from help on account of it.

The family were even advised to take a barring order out which no doubt would have been broken, resulting in criminalising this young man for being mentally unwell – hardly something any mother would want to do to their own vulnerable child.

His situation was complicated and seemed highly subjective to this family involved.

But upon posting this story on my website, it was immediately evident that this story was not uncommon throughout Ireland – mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, all explaining similar painful and heart wrenching stories.

The details of this story are slowly going to emerge over the coming months but this family don’t want to play the blame game or point fingers. They simply want a change. They do not want to see other families have to endure what they’ve had to and will no doubt have to endure for the rest of their lives.

No mother should ever feel this helpless and it deserves so much more. Caoilte, an intelligent, witty young man, deserved so much more. He was anyone’s brother.

We need to ask hard questions here, those stories are just too common. So many people wanted to help this young man but their hands were tied by bureaucracy, vague legalities
and a lack of resources – and they should never have been put in that position in the first place.

This is not a quick fix, that in order to progress you must first accept that change is needed. Irish people, in some cases, have shown to be revolutionary when it comes to social innovation and I hope we continue to be in the future. We have proven that negative cultural attitudes can be transformed and, although we are sometimes cautious of change, we never let it dictate our collective actions.

We’re built upon unique character and personality and we punch well above our weight internationally. We can become world leaders when it comes to our mental health strategies going forward. Let’s work on this together.

This is only the start of a conversation and it is important that the next health committee prioritise mental health for young people as a key issue for its future work programme. I appeal to you all, to use your full influence, passion and desire to work together with us, to tackle and overcome the issues we are facing and help build a more resilient society and a new Ireland.

Bressie’s opening address before the Oireachtas health committee this morning.

Yesterday: My Voice

An Avoidable Death

Watch live here

57 thoughts on “‘Caoilte’s Story Is Not Uncommon’

  1. Nilbert

    make this man the Bresident!!

    I know there’s plenty up here who would love to take him up the Áras.

  2. andydufresne2011

    He’s like Brendan O’Carroll. I was never a fan of their creative output but I find it very difficult not to really like them as people given all the good they do.

      1. andydufresne2011

        Ah Jaysis! I’d like to hear his side of it though. I know I know, what other side could there be but I’d still like to hear his side

        1. works on contingency?

          If Brendan had wanted to give his side, he wouldn’t have settled out of court with costs. Whatever it was, he felt it necessary to spend six figures to keep it secret. Speaks for itself really.

    1. ahjayzis

      Oh feck off with your cribbing.

      If this was a cancer survivor and campaigner at the committee you’d have no problem. There are things a survivor of cancer and someone who campaigns on it, meeting patients all the time can tell you an oncologist who deals with the clinical can’t. The same goes for mental health.

        1. andydufresne2011

          I think you’ll find pointing out any attractiveness of a person while they are doing something else other than trying to be attractive is sexism

          1. Caroline

            Oh REALLY so he needs those “glasses” to see, does he? A little short-sighted, is he? I suppose he ‘gets a headache’ if he doesn’t have them on for a while too. Squinting in discomfort I bet. Advised by his opthalmologist you say.

  3. Neilo

    Hey, Andy, hot’s hot – even for this flamiing heterosexual aul’ arse – and he always seems like a really good and thoughful bloke.

    1. andydufresne2011

      No No if I’ve learned anything from the internet it’s that if a woman is doing something serious and you point out anything about her appearance it’s everyday sexism. Or is that just for women?

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Yes, it’s just for women….unless you can think of a time where women had all the power and it was men who were dehumanised into being eye candy for women?

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Sure it is. Only an idiot would think being not getting to call someone ‘sexist’ on the internet because he complimented a man’s looks is evidence of a lack of equality. You’re not an idiot, are you?

          2. ahjayzis

            Equality isn’t treating black people calling white people ‘cracker’ the same as a white person calling a black person the ‘N’ word – you get that right? That’s the opposite of equality, it’s false equivalence.

            Same with a man calling a man a total ridebag – there’s no millenia-long undertone of diminishing or subordinating one guy by another guy,

            Your version of equality is from the same stable that brought us “Gay men can marry women, straight men can marry women, that means we’re equal” blunted, myopic opinions.

          3. andydufresne2011

            Or maybe I don’t think there’s anything sexist about pointing out anything about someone’s appearance (male or female) if it’s point-out-worthy. The inference that there’s a “millenia-long undertone of diminishing or subordinating” if it’s a male pointing out something about a woman purely because he is a male and she is a female is the issue I have. Basically if a man says ‘that’s sexist’ guffaws ensue. If a woman says ‘that’s sexist’ there can be no argument just because she’s a woman. Now you will say ‘of course there can be an argument if she’s not right’ but that ain’t my experience on the internet. Basically most feminists online want men to shut up and be told what’s what. If a rational man says ‘well hang on, maybe that’s not quite true’ he’s pounced on and hammered. If he complains he get’s the ‘diddums’ response. It make it very difficult to have a rational discussion about real sexism against women (and dare I say it, men) which happens all the time.

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            “Or maybe I don’t think there’s anything sexist about pointing out anything about someone’s appearance”

            I think we both guessed that. It was obvious. Idiots tend to trot out the same arguments over and over as if they’re the first person ever to think of it. Obviously you’re wrong though.

          5. ahjayzis

            andy, it’s patently not sexism – I’m a boy too. Objectification maybe, but sexism it ain’t.

          6. Andydufresne2012

            I agree Ahjayzis. I don’t think it’s sexist either. I just happen to think if it was a woman we were talking about, pointing out something about her appearance would probably just be objectification too, not necessarily automatically sexism. Some comments may of course be sexist but not all comments are automatically sexist by virtue of the fact they come from a male. Anyway thank you for taking the time to try to explain your point of view to me in a non insulting way.

          7. ahjayzis

            Sure, but only if shorn of all context of the history of the male-female dynamic. Which would be stupid. Women were valued for their looks rather than their mind for millennia – that’s why it’s inappropriate to give that impression now.

          8. andydufresne2011

            That’s the crux of it I think. If I comment that someone is beautiful apropos of nothing I have to answer for the behaviour of all the sexist men that came before me. Even if I’m admiring of someone’s looks and their mind at the same time. Oh well, diddums I suppose.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Sure, but we’re not going to solve mental health issues on this thread. Much more fun to wind up delusional trolls.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            It’s an internet message board, like. As far as I’m concerned this is one step above a computer game.

          3. Nigel

            Oh yeah? Well one day one of these threads will solve a thing, solve it good and proper, and then where will you be? Uploaded to some godlike AI superconsciousness, probably, along with the rest of us, probably.

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            Well yes, emotionally unstable people who have severe issues with their ego do tend to take message boards very seriously. Ain’t that right, Andy?

    2. Neilo

      I’m with ahjayzis on this, but I just came in to be a little glib so I’ll peg off elsewhere now. Sorry for derailing the very worthwhile and serious thread.

  4. andydufresne2011

    Anyway he’s doing a brilliant job of constantly drawing attention to the appalling situation we have (and have had for so long) around the treatment of mental health in this country. He should be president. Why not? If that’s his ticket I’d vote for him.

  5. Farty McCarthy

    All the people at the Committee should have turned their chairs to have their backs to him. For the craic, like.

  6. Bazza

    What about his music! What about his music! He is more well known for not being right between the ears (aren’t we all a bit loo laa!) than his music, which is what he’s supposed to be. A musician?
    Change the record Bressie!

    1. Caroline

      I swear to god I didn’t touch him, he just started going off like this by himself and now I can’t find the off button

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