The uncle of missing teen Andy Quigley has said the ‘tragic circumstances’ surrounding the 19 year old’s disappearance highlights the need for statutory funding for organisations such as Foyle Search and Rescue and Hurt - both of which were recently refused grant-aid from the Social Investment Fund.
“We need to step back and look at what this city really needs,” Dee Quigley said, as the search for the teen, who is feared to have drowned in the River Foyle, continued into its third day yesterday.
“We need organisations such as Foyle Search and Rescue, and we need organisations such as Hurt who are working with people with drug problems.”
Mr Quigley said he knew his nephew dabbled in drugs and that with use of substances such as mephedrone came “crippling lows”. He said he believed his nephew must have been in one of these crippling lows when he went to the Foyle Bridge in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“I can just imagine that he felt despair,” Mr Quigley said. “That he was in a place where it seemed that being dead was a better option than being alive.”
Mr Quigley said his family were “devastated” by the events of the weekend and wanted to prevent other families having to experience the same heartache they were currently enduring.
“I’d ask parents to watch out what their children are doing.
“Part of the problem is that drugs are so cheap. And if you are living in poverty and want an escape it’s cheaper to bunch up with a couple of friends and get some meph or whatever.
“We need to get our young people to reconsider their recreational habits.”
Mr Quigley said it had been a comfort to the Quigley family that so many people had joined in the search to try and find Andy.
“We have had a group of 50 or more leaving twice a day, walking along the river.
“We have had people out in boats. And the young people of the Enagh Youth Forum were out this morning covering that side of the river.
“We will be out morning, noon and night until we have Andy home,” he said.
He appealed for members of the public to help in the search for his nephew.
“Anyone who has a boat and can get out on the river, or if you are walking along the river, just keep an eye out. If you see anything then call 999 immediately,” he said.
If you are in distress or need support you can call The Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.