Passionate | 

Andrew McGinley says other kids won't 'see 10th birthday' without mental health reforms

The Dublin man lost his three children – Conor, Darragh, and Carla – after they were suffocated by their mother Deirdre Morley in January 2020.

Andrew with Conor, Carla and Darragh

Neasa Cumiskey

Andrew McGinley has said that other children “will not see their 10th birthday” unless mental health reforms in Ireland are prioritised.

The Dublin man lost his three children – Conor, Darragh, and Carla – after they were suffocated by their mother Deirdre Morley in January 2020. She was found not guilty of their murder by reason of insanity.

Mr McGinley is campaigning for the Irish mental health system to be improved and the Mental Health Act to be revised alongside Una Butler, whose daughters Zoe and Ella were killed in similar circumstances.

Appearing on Newstalk on what would have been his son Darragh’s tenth birthday, he said: “In all reality, unless you live through something like this, ask me four years ago what I would have thought of mental health.

“I didn't know anything about it really, until Dee started seeking treatment. It's not until you live through it that you become, I suppose, passionate about these things.

“But here I am on Darragh's 10th birthday - Darragh would have been 10 today. Days like these, they’re tough but you know that they’re coming so you prepare for them.

“And I just think that unless changes are made, there will be children out there who will not see their 10th birthday because of similar traumatic experiences what myself and Una Butler experienced.”

Mr McGinley said that family involvement in mental health cases is only a recommended approach but is not typically brought into practice.

“William Flannery, who's the president of the College of Psychiatrists in Ireland, has declared that the majority of its member are in favour of family inclusion,” he said.

“So, if everybody's in favour of it, and if it's in as a recommendation, start practicing it - or else write it into the act that proactive encouragement for the patient should be carried out at all stages.

“And it's a very simple message from both myself and Una Butler - in both our cases we feel that family inclusion would have saved the lives of Conor, Darragh, Carla and her daughters Zoe and Ella.”

He added that the area of patient confidentiality also needs more clarity.

“At the moment, within the Act, confidentiality can be broken if the patient is a danger to themselves or to others. I think that needs clearer definition. There should be no grey areas left within that.

“In our case, a decision was made not to break confidentiality. When I look at Deirdre’s medical notes, I feel as though it should have been.”

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