Friday 23 August 2019

'Stand up to bullies' written on canteen wall following suicide of park ranger

Park ranger who took own life left note on 'workplace bullying'

The Dublin Coroner's Court
The Dublin Coroner's Court

Louise Roseingrave

The phrase "Stand up to bullies" was written on the wall of a workplace canteen where a 43-year-old man took his own life, an inquest has heard.

Stephen Taylor, from Ashbourne, Co Meath, was employed as a park ranger by Fingal County Council.

The father of one was found at the council's depot in Coolmine at around 11.30pm on March 4, 2017, and later pronounced dead.

His family raised the alarm when he failed to return home from work that day.

His wife, Carmel Taylor, told Dublin Coroner's Court he was a man who "hated lies and stood up for the truth".

He had taken two weeks off due to work-related stress in December 2016.

Ms Taylor said her husband talked about workplace bullying in a note he left for her.

"None of it was a surprise to me. It had gotten worse," she said.

"That morning he went out the door and I never saw him again.

"I know he didn't do this to hurt us. I think he was driven to it. I wonder did something happen that day that pushed him over the edge."

Witness Pierce Keogh met Mr Taylor in Millennium Park, Coolmine, at around 10am that day.

"He felt isolated. He would make friends and then find they didn't want to be seen talking to him. He thought he was being tracked," Mr Keogh said.

The family phoned the council's out-of-hours service when Mr Taylor failed to return home by 7.30pm. Their message was passed from a call centre to council depot foreman Alan Carroll. Mr Carroll rang his supervisor to come with him. "It's a big yard," Mr Carroll said.

Supervisor Ciaran Rooney said he entered the canteen and saw the words "Stand up to bullies" written in graffiti on the wall before discovering Mr Taylor.

He said the Tetra radio system used by park rangers has a tracking device. He said the device is a health and safety mechanism. Rangers can press an alert button to call for assistance. He said this device is monitored by two different companies.

"There's no live feed but we can go back and check it," Mr Rooney said.

Asked what information CCTV footage at the yard revealed on the day of Mr Taylor's death, Mr Rooney said he didn't know because he didn't look at it.

Asked why he did not view the footage, Mr Rooney said he was not asked to.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane adjourned the inquest until October 15.

Irish Independent

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