Comedian Joe Rooney overcome by emotion while recalling death of his mother
COMEDIAN Joe Rooney broke down on radio today when discussing his late mother's illness and subsequent death.
He had previously opened up about his struggle with mental health, describing the crippling panic attacks which almost cost him his career in comedy.
The actor, who has starred in both Killinaskully and Father Ted, has struggled with agoraphobia (a fear of the outdoors) in the past.
This morning, he became very emotional as he told the Ryan Tubridy Show on RTE Radio One that recent counselling sessions with Sandra, the mother of his children, had evoked memories of his late mother.
Host Ryan Tubridy noticed that his guest was in difficulty and said "I can see you're holding your head in your hands, maybe this is all too much for you?"
But Rooney opted to continue with the interview, and said that thinking about his late mother has always provoked strong emotions in him.
She became terminally ill when he was a child, and he agreed with Tubridy that in Ireland in the 1970s things like illness were simply not discussed.
He admitted that he said things to her which he now regrets such as: "I just can't face having a sick mother."
When probed as to how he knew she was aware of his feelings, he recalled his mother's words : "You'll be glad when I'm in the grave."
Rooney said his display of emotion on the airwaves today was a good thing, and commented : "I could never have cried about this in my 20s."
He then dissolved into tears for the second time.
At this point Tubridy intervened and asked again if Rooney needed to terminate the interview
"No, I'm OK, I'll keep going," he replied.
Twitter was very quick to react to Rooney's honesty and transparency.
"You have struck a chord with so many," someone tweeted.
Meanwhile another added "It takes such honesty and courage to share this story."
Rooney later took to Twitter to respond to the supportive comments saying "I'm a little bit shaken and still upset."