Saturday 23 September 2017

Tragic dad shot himself after taking drugs on Amsterdam stag night

Amsterdam (Inset: Mr Alan Bourke)
Amsterdam (Inset: Mr Alan Bourke)
Oonagh Burke
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A father-of-two who did not want to take drugs at an Amsterdam stag party, but sampled 'magic mushrooms' as a once-off shot himself just 72 hours after he got home.

The fungus, also nicknamed 'Amsterdam Truffles', left Alan Bourke (28) upset, guilty and paranoid.

His heartbroken family in Tipperary issued an emotional anti-drugs plea to the Irish Independent.

His devastated partner Oonagh Heeney claimed he had not wanted to try the magic mushrooms.

"He had everything to live for. We were getting married the following November and the tragedy is that he didn't really want to go on that stag party trip," she told a Cork Coroner's inquest.

"Alan never took drugs (before). He felt so guilty after taking them," she added.

Oonagh Burke
Oonagh Burke

Oonagh said that Alan was devoted to her, their children and family but returned from Amsterdam a changed person.

His older brother Tom issued an emotional appeal on behalf of the Bourke family.

"Alan was not a drug user - and it is our opinion that the drugs he took were a significant contributory factor in his death," he said.

"Our family is a living testament to the damage and devastation that can result from a once-off recreational drug use.

"If young people in particular could see the suffering that can be caused, not only to family members but to a whole community, then perhaps our tragic loss may hopefully prevent other such occurrences," he pleaded.

Paranoia

Alan, a carpenter and farmer, attended the Amsterdam stag party of a friend on May 23 2014.

Just 24 hours after returning home, he became agitated, suffered from paranoia and couldn't sleep at night.

"He was not his normal self. He was saying weird stuff ... he was so disappointed in what he did. He said he didn't deserve us.

"Then he said the wedding was off because we deserved better," Oonagh said.

She added that Alan was utterly devoted to their two children, Mia and AJ.

Despite strenuous efforts by Oonagh and the Bourke family to reassure Alan, he remained paranoid and agitated.

Oonagh received a text from Alan on May 27 saying 'I love you' and she immediately became concerned.

She alerted Alan's father and brother and they found him lying critically injured outside Tullamaine, Fethard with a gunshot wound to the head.

He was able to speak and said: "Please take care of Oonagh and the children."

Alan died two days later.

Irish Independent

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