Thursday 20 July 2017

'This was the last time I saw Aidan' - Young woman's final photograph with her brother and why she doesn't want his death to be in vain

'We don’t want Aidan’s death to be in vain' - say family of man fatally struck by car after he had been drinking 

'The last time I saw Aidan' - Irene and her brother Aidan, taken August 2016, directly before she left home on Erasmus
'The last time I saw Aidan' - Irene and her brother Aidan, taken August 2016, directly before she left home on Erasmus
L-R: Paul, Claire, Aidan Darren and Irene at home in Durrow, taken on the morning of returning to school after summer holidays.
Aidan aged three (Photo supplied by family)
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The sister of a man who tragically died when he was struck by a car after he had been drinking has called for more awareness about addiction and treatment needs in Ireland.

Aidan Bermingham was 26 when he was killed in an accident outside his family home in Durrow, Co Offaly on December 14.

One of five children he is survived by his siblings, Claire, Paul, Darren, Irene, his mother Eileen and his dad Terry.

His sister Irene was getting ready to fly home from Cyprus where she had been on an Erasmus placement when she learned of her brother's tragic death.

The Berminghams want to speak out to highlight the need for re-thinking how addiction and mental health problems are treated in Ireland
The Berminghams want to speak out to highlight the need for re-thinking how addiction and mental health problems are treated in Ireland

"It’s safe to say life will never be the same for us, as it isn’t for many other families. But for our parents especially, Aidan's life givers, providers and protectors, life has been totally shattered," she writes in a personal blog.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Irene said her family are keen to raise awareness about the struggle people with both mental health difficulties and addiction face.

L-R: Paul, Claire, Aidan Darren and Irene at home in Durrow, taken on the morning of returning to school after summer holidays.
L-R: Paul, Claire, Aidan Darren and Irene at home in Durrow, taken on the morning of returning to school after summer holidays.

"Aidan was really clever. In his mid-20s he was diagnosed with Aspergers and mild autism, so he couldn't really apply it in a way," she said.

"His biggest loves were animals and music. He loved DJing. Since he died I found mixes he made on my laptop. He always said that he wanted to DJ," she added.

Aidan aged three (Photo supplied by family)
Aidan aged three (Photo supplied by family)

But unable to cope with some of life's challenges, he turned to alcohol and ended up in the throes of addiction.

He battled to overcome his addiction issues but at the time of his death he had not managed to do so.

"He really did try, and that's part of the problem the psychologists and the counsellors none of them would deal with someone with mental health issues and addiction and he couldn't get himself there.

"For five years him and my parents tried and it was all in vain no matter how much he tried he wasn't getting the support."

On one occasion a doctor told Aidan to "cop on" she said.

"The people who cared and tried hardest to help Aidan weren't qualified to do so. The people who were qualified and paid to help Aidan, had no passion to do so."

Irene and her family hope to encourage people to think about the long term effects drink and drug abuse can have on a person's well-being, while also hoping to stimulate a change in how people with addiction issues are treated.

"It can’t all have been for nothing.

"Aidan can’t have died for no reason.

"We can’t let this go, we have to talk about it and tell young people in particular that it’s just not worth it. We have to do that much for Aidan," she said. 

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