Councillors want a detailed study of the lives of farmers and people living in rural isolation to be undertaken. Photo: Benjamin Davies

Calls made for rural mental health study

A letter is to be sent from Cork County Council to every local authority in the country to highlight the effect of isolation on the mental wellbeing of farmers in light of recent tragedies.

The letter will ask that a detailed study of the lives of farmers and people living in rural isolation be undertaken across the nation and that supports be put in place for those who need them.

Speaking at a meeting of Cork County Council this week, Independent Cllr Frank Roche said recent tragedies couldn’t be ignored and the true cause of such events would not be adequately addressed by a state enquiry. He said family farms are still reeling from the recession of 2008 and the challenges they face have been compounded further by Covid-19.

“Before we consider any play to address this matter, we need to understand why such tragedies happen,” he said.

Independent Cllr Ben Dalton O'Sullivan supported the motion and said there is no issue more important than mental health during Covid-19.

“We need to find a way of approaching the right people in the right agencies to raise this issue of mental wellbeing in rural Ireland,” said the councillor.

On 26 October 2020, one of two recent murder suicides in rural Cork took place in Kanturk when Tadhg O’Sullivan and his son Diarmuid killed Mr O’Sullivan’s oldest son Mark over the inheritance of a 115 acre plot of family farmland. Mr O’Sullivan and his son Diarmuid then took their own lives.

On 26 February 2021, Mitchelstown was rocked by the deaths of brothers Willie, Paddy and Johnny Hennessy and another murder suicide. Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley said her heart goes out to these people and encouraged them to call the Cork County Council Community helpline on 1800-805819.

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