Publicising a decision on when to end a life


PAT Tierney, who hanged himself last Thursday on his 39th birthday, was well known to Dubliners for reciting poetry in Grafton Street. He also wrote his autobiography, The Moon At My Back.

An AIDS sufferer, he had made a previous suicide attempt about a year ago. His health had begun to, deteriorate recently, and he had made it clear to a small number of people that he intended to take his own life. One of those was the Sunday Tribune reporter Brenda Power, who published a lengthy interview with him yesterday. He said he wanted it published to explain his decision to end his life.

He told her that he wanted to die on his birthday, and that he would hang himself in the grounds of a church, because he blamed the church for much of misery in his life. He said he was beaten, humiliated and sexually abused, in religious homes as a child. Last Friday morning his body was found hanging from a tree in the grounds of Corpus Christi Church near Ballymun in Dublin.

Born to a 17 year old unmarried girl, he was put into a religious run home in Galway. At 10 he was fostered to an elderly childless rural couple. In his early teens the woman said he was to leave and he lived rough on the streets of Galway.

He travelled widely, working at various occupations, and contracted the HIV virus from a contaminated needle when he was experimenting with intravenous drugs in the United States.

On his return to Ireland in 1988 he lived in Ballymun, working with the local community there, especially children, for whom he founded the Rhymers Club, which taught them to write poetry.