Saturday 21 September 2019

TD apologises for linking soldier's drowning death to suicide

Lisa Chambers: Apology
Lisa Chambers: Apology
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A TD has apologised in the Dáil for incorrectly linking the tragic death of a young member of the Defence Forces to his mental health.

Fianna Fáil's Lisa Chambers said she was deeply sorry for any hurt she had caused.

In July, the first-time deputy became emotional while speaking about the death of a 21-year-old man.

She said Ben Garrett, from Castlebar, who was a close friend of her brother and sister, took his own life.

"Ben gave off the impression of confidence, happiness and things going very well," she said at the time.

"Clearly, underneath he was in a lot of trouble.

"If only we had taken more time to talk about it. If only there was not such stigma attached and it was more okay to talk about mental health."

However, during a short address to the Dáil, Ms Chambers said: "When I made a statement on the issue of mental health, I spoke about a young man, Ben Garrett, and my facts were incorrect.

"Ben tragically died by drowning and I am deeply sorry for any hurt I caused Ben's family."

She added: "I have spoken to Mr and Mrs Garrett to apologise personally, and I want to thank them for their kindness and understanding."

Private Garrett was stationed at Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa barracks in Renmore, Co Galway.

He had been celebrating at Carbon nightclub in Galway on the night he disappeared in March 2016, having earlier marched in the Easter Sunday military parade in Dublin. His body was recovered from the River Corrib after a search that lasted more than two weeks.

Irish Independent

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