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'He was my baby' Parents of Cavan teen who took his own life reveal he suffered relentless bullying

'It’s going on everywhere, in every place, so we just have to talk, that's it, just talk to your children, please'


Eden Heaslip was just 18 when he took his own life

Eden Heaslip was just 18 when he took his own life

Eden Heaslip was just 18 when he took his own life

The family of a young Cavan boy who took his own life after being subjected to relentless bullying have appealed to parents to speak to their own children about the issue. 

Eden Heaslip of Killynanum, Carrickaboy, was just 18 years old when his body was found on Monday, September 20.

Speaking to Northern Sound FM this morning his parents, Raymond and Maggie, described the torment suffered by Eden before his death.

Raymond revealed how Eden had been subjected to “every form of bullying”.

“Anything that could be done to Eden was done,” he said.

“He got it mentally, he got it physically, he got it by social media, and on phones.

"Even when he left school, they were still after him. They never left him alone. And that’s what ended poor Eden’s life.”

“It was heartbreaking to hear the stories (of the bullying),” he added.

“Even Fr Jason (their parish priest) didn't tell us, he just said ‘it’s bad, it's really, really bad’. He said it was so bad the Guards should be involved.

“But Eden never spoke to Maggie or me about it. Little bits he’d say to (his siblings) Chloe or Finn, but he'd never give away what the bullying was about.”

Raymond told how on a long drive to pick a piece of farm machinery he took Eden with him so he could try to talk to him.

“I slowly edged into the conversation, and he talked to me for the whole way over. The stuff he told me, completely shocked me.

"I think the thing that hurt him the most was that they would just kick him all the time.

"He says: ‘Dad, there’s never one, it’s always three to four. I can handle one to one but it’s always three or four.'

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“They were kicking him all the time, kicking him every week. (They were) kicking him, he’d fall to the ground, and they’d kick him on the ground.


Eden Heaslip

Eden Heaslip

Eden Heaslip

“One of the things he couldn't understand when they were kicking him was, they’d tell him, ‘Go home to your own country, you black, Protestant bastard.'

“Eden’s mother is Roman Catholic and I’m Protestant and we brought our children up as Christians, to respect both sides of religion and respect neighbours and respect family.

"He was so hurt by that. He said that when he was on the ground he’d say, ‘I'm not a Protestant’.

“I tried to explain to him that these people are just very ignorant, that this is not the norm, but he found it very hard. He said it happened on a regular occurrence.”

Eden also opened up to his dad about how the bullies put his head down the toilet.

“And I said what do you mean?

"He says: ‘Dad, on a regular occurrence the group of lads would get me and stick my head down the toilet’.

"And he says, ‘never a clean one. They’d pick the dirtiest, shitiest toilet to do it, and they’d stand and laugh'.

“There was other stuff, throwing food all the time. He’d be sitting at the table and there were lads throwing full apples across the room at him.

“Eden was big into his phones,” Raymond added. “And he was big into his social media, but he didn't talk to anyone until we got him to a counsellor.

"I just think there's really no place for a young person or anyone in the workplace to go to for bullying because there is no law on bullying.

"The gardai can't go and prosecute anyone for bullying because there is no law for a start which I find very upsetting.

“It's bad enough being bullied but at the end of the day, there's no law to stop these people from doing it.”

Eden’s sobbing mum Maggie said, “he can’t die in vain”.

“Every parent has to talk to their child because I thought I could protect him,” she said.

“I’m his mother. I thought I could keep him alive forever.

"He was my baby, and I can't imagine another mother sitting here (like this). I am in pain today because it's not right, something has to be done about it.

“It’s going on everywhere, in every place, so we just have to talk, that's it, just talk to your children, please.”

Raymond added: “I sometimes run it through my head that it’s the parents at home that have to try and set an example.

“If the parents show these children at home not to be so, how would I say, maybe ignorant, and maybe show a little bit more respect to other cultures and other religions and other views in life, I think that’s a big factor in this.”

Speaking at Eden’s funeral mass in St Matthew’s Church, Drumavaddy, Church of Ireland Canon Mark Lidwill told the congregation how the young man’s “kind and sensitive” nature made him conscious of the feelings of others.

“It is so terribly tragic that Eden should become a victim of words and deeds and gross insensitivity, unkindness and cruelty,” he said. “Those very things that were alien to Eden’s character and drove him into to a dark place beyond the reach of everyone, so he felt no alternative, but to end his own life.”

Canon Lidwill pleaded with all in attendance to “be kind to one another” saying: “Kindness lies at the heart of every Christian denomination and indeed every world religion. It is the key to bonding every human relationship. It is a gift everyone can give.”

He added: “In a world where we can be anything, just be kind to one another.”

Breifne College chaplain Fr Jason Murphy said that while a student, Eden had encountered bullying and confided in him: "He told me of a suffering he had carried within, a suffering that no man with shoulders broader than his could ever endure. I sat and I cried in front of this boy as he told me of his everyday, a pain of the heart and a pain of the mind, that had left scars deep - deep where no one could see.

“He told me of this pain without emotion as if this was to be his normal and everyday, a pain he had come to accept, a pain that in fact he had befriended. It had become part of who he was, stripping him of the joy that should accompany teenage years,” Fr Jason said.

The Breifne College Chaplain also called on people to be conscious of their actions.

“Words hurt, actions hurt, excluding people, allowing them to feel unwanted or worthless or so very small so that you can grow bigger in the eyes of others. We all participate if we stand by and say nothing whether it is as children in a playground or as adults allowing others to be demeaned.

“Having heard the pain that Eden went through, I must repeat what I said at Matthew Gaffney and Jason Cobey’s funeral who both died but a year ago, just a stone’s throw away, that taking your own life is not the answer.”

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