Traveller community shock after teens take their own lives

17-year-old boy takes his own life after news emerges of death of his girlfriend (15)

The Traveller community in the midwest is coming to terms with the deaths by suicide of a teenage couple within the space of a few days.

A 15-year-old girl was buried in Limerick city yesterday, having taken her life last Friday.

Her 17-year-old boyfriend died by suicide in Co Tipperary, just after news of her death emerged. The boy's remains were found near his home on Monday. He had been missing since the weekend.

Earlier, an appeal had been issued seeking information on his whereabouts. It is believed he died over the weekend and his body lay undiscovered for a number of days.


Gardaí in Limerick and the local coroner were yesterday awaiting the results of a postmortem on the girl, whose body was found at her home in a halting site in Limerick.

She is survived by her parents, brothers and sisters. This is the second tragedy to hit the family; a brother previously had taken his own life. Although her school is closed for the summer holidays, staff have been made aware of the tragic events of recent days.

The boy’s family had also been hit with tragedy in recent years with two men in his extended family having taken their own lives.

Fianna Fáil TD for Limerick Willie O'Dea described the deaths as a "terrible tragedy" and expressed his sympathies to the families involved. He said he knew the girl's family through contacts over the years and described them as well-established in the city.

Limerick Fine Gael TD Dan Neville, who is president of the Irish Association of Suicidology, also expressed his condolences and pointed out suicide rates were higher among young people, and among members of the Traveller community.

Suicide rates among Travellers are three to seven times higher than in the settled population, according to studies.

Support services include the Samaritans at 1850-609090 and the 1Life suicide prevention helpline at 1800-247 100.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times