Friday 19 January 2018

RTE star Evanne Ni Chuilinn opens up about her brother's tragic suicide

Evanne Ni Chuilinn
Evanne Ni Chuilinn
Evanne Ni Chuilinn at the RTE Sports Awards 2014 in association with the Irish SportsCouncil, at RTE studios, Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

RTE broadcaster Evanne Ni Chuilinn has opened up about the tragic loss of her brother Cormac.

Her beloved sibling took his own life back in October 2013 when he was just 29, leaving her Kilkenny-based family devastated.

Evanne explained how her brother had suffered from ­depression from an early age and struggled with life's daily challenges. However, the brave sports presenter said that she takes comfort from the fact that he's at peace now and tries to recall the happier times that she ­enjoyed with him.

"I try to think about him as a child. We were great buddies. We would have done everything together and that's what I go to now, when I think about Cormac," she said. "I try to go back to that because he was a really happy child."

She said that when he turned nine or ten, he began to get really unhappy.

In an emotional interview with RTE Radio 1's Ray D'Arcy, and joined in studio by her father Cathal, she said that she takes some solace from knowing that he's no longer in pain.

"We waked him at home for two nights in the house in the sitting room and I didn't want to leave his side because I'd never seen his face so peaceful or without worry," she said.

"His brow wasn't furrowed. That weight was gone from his shoulders and he was definitely at peace."

But she was at pains to point out during the ­­interview how that she "didn't want to glorify losing someone" as it was something the family would never get over. "We were ­devastated but you have to try to understand how he was, he just wasn't able to stay," she said.

"We tried to keep him with us for as long as we could but he just wasn't able to stay."

Both she and Cormac were adopted and her dad Cathal said that for some reason, having a lifelong "sense of rejection" almost became part of his DNA.

"He was deeply unhappy at ­different times and at other times, he'd be very happy. But it was becoming increasingly difficult for him," he said.

He turned to alcohol and drugs in a bid to cope and also saw different people for assistance - but nothing helped.

Describing him as "one of the loveliest, gentlest people" that he ever knew, Cathal said he also took solace from knowing his son was now at peace. He and Evanne are now backing a charity project that Cormac supported called Wells for Zoe, which works ­towards building wells in ­Malawi.


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