Donal Walsh documentary to be aired on New Year’s Day

The Kerry teenager made a huge impact before he died from cancer this year

In a documentary about Donal Walsh to be broadcast on Jan 1, Munster Rugby player Paul O'Connell and Niall 'Bressie' Breslin talk about Donal Walsh's impact on suicide figures and Donal Walsh himself speaks about suicide and getting help.


RTÉ is to broadcast a documentary on New Year’s Day on the life of the Kerry teenager Donal Walsh who died from cancer in May.

The hour long documentary entitled Donal Walsh - My Story includes an interview with Donal shortly before he died, interviews with his parents, Fionnbar and Elma, and siblings, along with interviews with well-known sportsmen including Kerry footballer Paul Galvin and Munster and Ireland rugby player Paul O’Connell.

All of them expressed admiration for the 16-year-old who became a household name following his interview on the Saturday Night Show just a month before he died in which he appealed to teenagers not to be tempted to take their own lives.

Presenter Brendan O’Connor told the documentary that Donal Walsh seemed to be in a “state of grace” on the night that he was interviewed on television though he was desperately ill at the time.

In the documentary Donal Walsh says that he has been “handed excuses on a silver plate to do me for the rest of my life and I refuse to use them”.

Elma Walsh said the family had received thousands of messages of support, mass cards and cards since her son passed away peacefully in May.

“His faith was so strong that knew he was going to die and he knew he was going to heaven,” she said.

His father revealed that his son asked the priest performing the last rites. “Father, what’s it like on the other side” and the priest responded “I can’t answer that, but it will be a far better place now that you are there.”

Paul O’Connell told the documentary that tragedy was not an expression he would use to describe his life and untimely death. “First thing I’ll always talk about how he was such a special person. I was so proud of him and how happy I was to be his friend and how I enjoyed his company.”

The singer Niall Breslin aka Bressie said Donal’s anti-suicide message was the most poweful message Irish teenagers had heard in recent years.

“He has definitely saved lives,” said Bressie who is involved in raising awareness of depression in young people.

Brendan O’Connor said those who believe it was a wasted life dying so young were underestimating how much difference he had made to people’s lives.

“To be 16-year-old, to have that impact, more than most people achieve in his lifetime, maybe he did live out his potential,” said O’Connor.

Donal Walsh - My Story is broadcast on New Year’s Day at 9.30pm.