Brendan Smith appeals for cross-government action to deal with bullying in wake of Eden Heaslip family tragedy

Published on: 03 February 2022

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has appealed for a cross-government and cross-agency action to deal with the deeply serious issue of bullying, in light of the tragic experience of the late Eden Heaslip and his family.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Brendan Smith stated: “(In October 2021) I spoke in the House about a young man who at that time had recently lost his life. That fine young man was Eden Heaslip, who was 18 years of age. He lost his life following persistent bullying. 

“At the time, Eden's parents, brother and sister spoke on our local radio station about how their family member had been subjected to persistent and different forms of bullying and that they were anxious for the statutory agencies and Departments to take a new approach to the whole crime of bullying. They appealed to the Government to put in place measures across Departments to ensure a cross-government and cross-agency approach which would properly address this serious issue. Sadly, many young people are bullied persistently. They need support.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD continued: “Last week, Eden's parents, brother and sister spoke with grace and dignity on the “Prime Time” programme on national television. They spoke movingly and it was heartbreaking to listen to their story about a fine young man and what Eden and his family had been subjected to. They outlined the trauma that Eden experienced. 

“On this evening last week, I spoke to An Taoiseach, the Minister for Education, Deputy Foley, and the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, about the need to listen to families and family members who have, unfortunately, gone through such trauma and suffered so much. What they want is that no other family will have to go through the suffering, hardship and trauma they have gone through and are going through.”

Deputy Brendan Smith added: “Agencies and politicians learn by listening to people who have suffered and gone through the grieving process. Fr. Jason Murphy, a noted chaplain and deputy principal of a large second level school, also spoke movingly on the "Prime Time" programme. He has experience of dealing with young people who have been going through trauma. 

“I appeal to the Minister that at cross-government level, we listen to the families who have, unfortunately, gone through so much. Their one ask is that measures are put in place to ensure no other family will be subject to the suffering they have gone through,” he concluded.