Wednesday 13 December 2017

Kevin Myers: I have been attacked for what I have not said on suicide but here's why I must revisit the issue

Before I took a week's leave, I wrote a column on suicide, which I finished: "And since we can, quite rightly, no longer use the crude force of a pagan taboo as a control over people's lives, then we must extol the positive. . ."

The headline-writer duly summarised these words as follows: "Suicide is self-murder and must remain taboo." Well, we've all had bad days at the office, but at least most of us are then held accountable for them. But not, alas, headline-writers. Moreover, readers assume that the headline is the work of the by-lined journalists, and that it sums up what they are saying, which -- as you can see from the above -- is not quite the case.

This is something that journalists usually know. However, this did not prevent the commentator Medb Ruane from denouncing me on Newstalk radio the next day for attempting to revive the taboo on suicide, and re-establishing "Victorian standards in the digital age". My remarks were unhelpful in the extreme, she pontificated, and my language about Gary Speed and his sons were extremely offensive, especially my talk of his being selfish.

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