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Fiachra 'tried to dull the pain of €20k mortgage pressure'

"He was a fantastic partner and dad and that is how we will remember him. Nothing can bring him back. Nothing can replace him."

These were the words of Priory Hall widow Stephanie Meehan following the inquest of her partner Fiachra Daly who took his own life last year while under mounting pressure from banks over their mortgage.

Speaking after yesterday's inquest into Fiachra's death, Stephanie said she is still coming to terms with his loss and will always remember him as a loving partner and dad to their two children Oisin (9) and Cerys (3).

During the hearing Stephanie and Fiachra's families learned that there were significant amounts of alcohol and contaminated cocaine in the 38 year-old's system when he took his own life in July last year.

impeccable

The findings shocked them, but today Stephanie said she did not want to see his good name tarnished by the facts that emerged.

"Fiachra's track record as a partner and a father is impeccable and we can only assume that his use of drugs and alcohol on the night he died was in an effort to dull the pain of what he was about to do," Stephanie told the Herald.

She had known that Fiachra had some drinks earlier in the day, and had a glass of wine with her after she had returned home from a barbecue with their children. However, Stephanie said she had not known he had cocaine.

"We are shocked to hear these findings about Fiachra and do not want his legacy as a person to be affected by this," she explained.

"He was a fantastic partner and dad and that is how we will remember him. Nothing can bring him back. Nothing can replace him," she added.

Despite all her experience with the seemingly endless hell of the Priory Hall debacle, and having tried to come to terms with the sudden death of Fiachra, Stephanie's thoughts following the inquest were with anyone who might be thinking of ending their own lives.

"We would urge anybody who is thinking of doing what Fiachra did not to go down that road but turn to their family and talk, to seek help," she told the Herald.

"We have found the services of Pieta House to be incredible, and for anybody thinking of taking their own life they need to know there is professional help out there they can get," Stephanie added.

Fiachra Daly died last July. His body was found by Stephanie.

"It happened completely out of the blue. Everybody was very surprised. He was a very happy, kind person.

"Everyone was equally shocked and still, to this day, are shocked," she said at yesterday's inquest.

On the Sunday evening Fiachra was anxious that she should fill out her part of a financial statement for an extension of their mortgage moratorium.

They had to do this "constantly", she said, but he "seemed more stressed about it than usual".

"We had gotten a letter earlier on in the week from the bank stating that we were €20,000 in arrears and they couldn't extend our moratorium unless we completed the statement of means. It annoyed Fiachra that we had a mortgage for a house we couldn't live in," she said.

Fiachra's death was ultimately the tipping point for action on the Priory Hall apartments built in Donaghmede by former IRA hunger striker Tom McFeely.

Having been evacuated from their fire-trap homes in December 2011, the residents were caught in an endless spiral of red tape and court cases about the apartment block.

Following Fiachra's death, Stephanie wrote to Taoiseach Enda Kenny pleading for help.

She outlined her ordeal and how Fiachra had been a long-time campaigner for a solution to the ongoing Priory Hall problems that affected nearly 300 residents who were evacuated from their homes in 2011.

The on-going battle was then quickly resolved, with Dublin City Council agreeing to take control of the complex and refurbish it.

Residents were allowed to have their mortgages written off.

hnews@herald.ie


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