Clinton laments suicide of friend Patrick Rocca
Bill Clinton spoke about the death of his friend Patrick Rocca, below, in 2009.
FORMER US president Bill Clinton lamented the death of his friend Patrick Rocca as he spoke about the toll taken by suicide in Ireland during the economic crisis.
The property developer and socialite shot himself in January 2009. His death was cited as a casualty of the collapse of the Celtic Tiger.
Th businessman had lent the ex-president his helicopter when he came to Ireland to play golf.
Speaking at an awards ceremony organised by 'Irish America' magazine in the New York Yacht Club this week, Mr Clinton said: "The thing that has troubled me most, believe it or not, about this whole economic crisis in Ireland has been the rise in the suicide rate -- not just among the young where it was already too high, but among people in their prime working years who felt somehow their lives have been robbed from them by this.''
Although he did not refer to Mr Rocca by name, he said: "A good friend of mine was one of those young, phenomenally prosperous Irish men who took his life when this happened and it made me think about this all over again."
Mr Clinton said the country needed to learn lessons from the crash.
"The thing we always loved about Ireland had almost nothing to do with whether it was financially successful or not.
"Ireland will be great and prosperous and wonderful again simply by recovering again what it is at the core."