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29 Jun 2022

Stressed garda took own life, Naas Coroner's Court hears

Widow describes how husband suffered nervous breakdown following role change

Stressed garda took own life, Naas Coroner's Court hears

Naas courthouse

Issues relating to Gardai working under stress were raised at the inquest into the death of a 44-year-old Garda earlier this week.

At the Coroner’s Court in Naas last Monday, March 7, evidence was given how Sallins resident, John McDonagh (44), took his own life.

Garda McDonagh was found dead in Donadea Forest on February 12, 2015.

His widow, Valerie McDonagh, told how he had got depressed after changing a work practice of 17 years.

A number of Garda witnesses, including senior Gardai, told of how the shortage of Garda led to the need for changes and of the supports given to Garda McDonagh in the final months of his life.

Coroner Denis Cusack ruled that death was self inflicted.

He was keen to point out that there was no evidence before him which lead him to believe there was any culpability on behalf of An Garda Siochana.

However he did make two recommendations – that the Gardai review the training offered to members who are changing roles within the organisation, and that they review the assistance given to members who require support with their mental health.

He noted that the late Garda McDonagh was a "consummate professional, a very colleague and a wonderful husband and father".

And he urged his family remember him for how he lived rather than how he died.

Full report in this week's Leinster Leader

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