‘I tried to get Andrew help’

Relatives had been searching daily
Relatives had been searching daily

The mother of Andrew Quigley, the Derry teenager who it’s feared took his own life last weekend, has made an impassioned plea for a proper detox facility to be built in the city.

Colette Quigley spoke as hundreds of people gathered along the quay near Derry’s peace bridge yesterday in a rally organised by the Quigley family. They want to raise awareness of the need for more facilities locally for young people battling addictions with drugs and alcohol.

The devastated Derry mother spoke of how she had tried several times to get help for her son Andrew.

“I took him for help and had the door shut in my face,” she said. “I was told they couldn’t help him until he got clean. I was naive in thinking that my love alone could pull him through and that he would get to a point where he would turn a corner. Andrew never turned that corner.

“If this can happen to me it can happen to anyone else.”

In an emotional speech, the Galliagh woman continued: “My heart is beating and there is blood pumping around my body but I feel dead. He might have been six foot three but to me Andrew was only a child.”

In a heartbreaking message to her son, Colette Quigley said: “I’m so sorry Andrew, I let you slip through my fingers. I should have beaten down doors to get you help.”

She added that she would not stop fighting for a detox centre so that other families will be spared similar tragedies.

This afternoon’s rally was attended by local politicians, community workers and members of the Quigley family.

Andrew’s uncle Dee Quigley said the lives of many young people in the city were “being robbed” by the scourge of drugs.

“We are one family in a list of families and something needs to change soon,” he said.

See tomorrow’s Journal for full coverage of today’s rally.