Thursday 18 January 2018

I had to remortgage our home to pay off Davy's gambling debts, says mother of Galway All Ireland winner

Davy Glennon after winning the All Ireland with Galway this year and (right) in 2015, just before he went for treatment
Davy Glennon after winning the All Ireland with Galway this year and (right) in 2015, just before he went for treatment
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

The mother of Galway All Ireland hurling winner Davy Glennon has revealed how she had to remortgage her home to pay off his massive gambling debts.

Glennon, who came on in this year's All Ireland win over Waterford, opened up about his chronic gambling problem last year and spoke how his illness led to him contemplating taking his own life.

He spent 12 weeks in recovery in Cuan Mhuire in Athenry in 2015 and slowly rebuilt his life and now has an elusive All Ireland medal to show for it.

Speaking on RTE Two's Living With An Addict, Davy's mother Eileen opened up about the financial and mental challenges she faced during those days.

"I used to go down to the bookies offices and look in the doors where I would have seen him inside," said Eileen.

"I'd ask the man if Davy had been in and he'd say, 'No' and I'd say, 'Sure I've seen him'.

"That man a couple of weeks later came to our door looking for €1,000 he said Davy owed him."

In an interview with Independent.ie last year, Glennon admitted that the financial burden of his problem led to him contemplating taking his own life.

"It definitely would have happened. I was at breaking point, I was (having) a nervous breakdown. I was so stressed, I didn't know where to look or what to do. Financially, I was crippled," he said last year.

When you are hurling with Galway and you are kind of in the limelight, at home in your local parish you are somebody that people can look up to and you want to keep that impression. Pride got in the way. How could I tell people I was addicted to gambling?

"It came to a stage that I knew that I needed to cry out for help which was a 25% chance or there was a 75% chance I was going to do something tragic in that I was going to end my life. The first step is the hardest.

"They treated me for depression and gambling. You are literally fried from everything, your conscience is gone. They are treating you how to respect, how to love, all that kind of thing again. I had no conscience. I was a compulsive liar, I was a compulsive gambler."

Eileen admitted the money involved was "colossal".

She said: "It'd be a thousand, another two thousand, another two thousand, and he'd say, 'That's it now, never ever again,' and you'd believe him.

"But a week later again I knew, I'd see the car outside the bookies office again.

"It came to a colossal amount of money that he owed, there was all different figures put on it.

"At the time we told them their money would definitely be paid back even if it would take him the rest of his life, but no it had to be now.

"There's five people around the table and they're telling you, 'No you have to pay up this money, find it some way or another', and you have to go out and find it some way or another, like it wasn't really our problem, it shouldn't have been our problem, but I had to re-mortgage the house to pay it back."

The documentary screens on RTE Two at 10pm on Tuesday.

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