herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Widow blames banks for Priory Hall suicide

Stephanie Meehan with her children Oisin (6) and Cerys (1) in their temporary home. Photo: Tom Burke
Stephanie Meehan with her children Oisin (6) and Cerys (1) in their temporary home. Photo: Tom Burke

THE widow of a Priory Hall resident who took his own life last month has claimed that demands from banks pushed him over the edge.

Stephanie Meehan has written to Taoiseach Enda Kenny outlining how her children's lives will "never be the same".

She says her partner Fiachra (37) was "the happiest man on earth" who never suffered from mental health problems.

"That is up until the week prior to his death, when we received demands from banks looking for payment of arrears on a property that we can't live in through no fault of our own," the heart-breaking letter says.

It is nearly two years since the residents of Priory Hall were forced to leave their fire-trap homes.

Fiachra, who had been a long-time campaigner for a solution to the ongoing Priory Hall problems that affected nearly 300 residents, ended his life on July 15. He has two children Oisin (7) and Cerys (2).

Blasting the lack of action on Priory Hall, which has now dragged on for almost two years with no resolution, Stephanie said that banks were still putting pressure on residents who were evacuated in October 2011 from the fire-trap Donaghmede apartments (pictured inset) built by former IRA hunger striker Tom McFeely.

"Fiachra was the happiest man on earth, he lived for myself, Oisin and Cerys. He never suffered from any form of mental illness or depression, we had been together for 17 years and I never once witnessed any signs," she says in her letter.

"The stress, the worry of not being able to provide a safe home for us, his young children, eventually took its toll, as it has on every resident. He was obviously a silent sufferer, he never complained, he supported me when I was feeling low."

 

Battle

"He hated the idea that he couldn't provide a safe home for us, that I do know, but I thought we'd battle through this together. How wrong was I?" Stephanie asked.

"I now have no home, my children have no permanent home, but most importantly, I have no partner and my children have lost their wonderful dad."

With brave determination, and a promise not to be silenced by her grief, Stephanie signed off the letter by saying, "I've lost Fiachra, but I've not lost my voice".

A spokesman for the Taoiseach's office confirmed the letter had been received by Enda Kenny's department, but it was not able to make a comment on the matter.

The Priory Hall residents' group, who released the letter last night, praised Stephanie for her strength in sending it directly to the Taoiseach.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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