Friday 9 December 2016

Social welfare refused to aid €650 ESB bill suicide man

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

Published 07/12/2010 | 05:00

A MAN who killed himself over a €650 ESB bill was also refused help from social welfare in the weeks before his death.

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Farm labourer Stefan Adami (55) left Slovakia to come to Ireland in the hope of a better life but tragically died. He was found hanging from a tree in a field two miles from his flat in Tullow, Co Carlow, on October 18 last.

Speaking after an inquest into his death at Carlow courthouse yesterday, family friend Ann Fogel and her Slovakian husband Robert said Mr Adami looked for assistance from social welfare to pay his bill a few weeks before his death.

"He was told there was nothing they could do and he got more depressed," said Ms Fogel.

The Department of Social and Family Affairs last night would not comment on the case. However, a spokesperson said a special "exceptional needs" fund was available for people who could not afford to pay their energy bills.

Yesterday's inquest heard how a man saw what he thought was a jacket hanging from a tree in Tullow on October 18.

However, on closer inspection he realised it was a man's body and he saw crutches lying on the ground near the tree.

Mr Adami first moved to Ireland in 2007 and worked odd jobs to send money home to his wife, Emilia, and his four adult children. He had to have his leg amputated because he neglected a small injury he had sustained while working on an Irish farm.

Depression

Yesterday, Ms Fogel described how she will "never forget" cleaning up Mr Adami's flat after his body was discovered. It was there that she found two letters from ESB over the €648.54 debt.

"I spoke to Emilia and she said Stefan had never been in court in his life and he was sure he'd have to go over this. He did have depression over losing his leg but he was starting to cope a lot better since his wife moved to Ireland.

"They were starting to build their lives again but then the pressure came to pay his electricity bill and he had no money, it was just the last straw."

Eventually, cold and hungry, he hobbled from his home one Friday night. The following Monday his body was found.

A toxicology report found no alcohol or drugs in Mr Adami's system. Coroner Dr Brendan Doyle recorded a death due to hanging -- or asphyxiation -- in accordance with the medical evidence. He extended sympathy to the Adami family.

Irish Independent

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