SDLP’s Mark H. Durkan to speak at ‘Living with Suicide’ event

Mark H Durkan with his sister, Gay.
Mark H Durkan with his sister, Gay.
  • MLA to attend Lough Derg retreat

A Derry politician is to speak at a “Living with Suicide” event which is taking place on the pilgrimage island of Lough Derg.

Mark H Durkan, a SDLP member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, is one of the keynote speakers at the one-day retreat on September 30.

Mr. Durkan lost his sister, Gay, a nurse, to suicide more than five years ago.

Mr. Durkan will speak about his personal life experience following his sister’s death.

Retreat Spiritual Director, Fr. Cathal Deery, says the one day retreat is an opportunity for people “to come to a safe place where they might find some sense of healing and peace in the midst of pain and struggle.”

He said: “What is very important is that there is no expectation on anyone who attends to say or share anything.”

Also speaking at the event is Joan Freeman who founded Pieta House, an organisation which helps people in suicidal distress.

Writing on social media on the fifth anniversary of his sister’s death, Mr. Durkan said: “Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her and think of the good times we had. But what makes me saddest is when I think of the things she has missed and is missing – people she loved doing well; growing up; settling down; getting on with their lives – and how happy that would have made her. Suicide sucks. Speak don’t suffer.

He added: “She was an absolutely brilliant girl. She was my sister and she was my best friend.”