Court told how depressed young man jumped into river

A waterways patrol along the banks of the River Corrib saved a student's life.

Galway Waterways Patrol has received a €300 donation from the family of a young man who was prevented from jumping into River Corrib by volunteers last August.

Galway District Court was told the 21-year-old college student, who suffers from depression, had made a genuine attempt to take his own life on August 6 last year while intoxicated.

Judge Mary Fahy advised the young man not to drink alcohol any more as it was known to make the symptoms of depression worse.

Sergeant Finbarr Philpott said volunteers from the Waterways Patrol were on hand at 3am when the young man tried to jump off O’Brien’s Bridge.

He became aggressive and shouted abuse at the volunteers when they stopped and restrained him from jumping into the water.

The young man, who was intoxicated at the time, continued to be abusive when Gardai arrived at the scene and had to be arrested.

He was subsequently charged with being drunk in public and with breaching the peace by engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour.  Sgt Philpott withdrew the drunk in public charge after the young man pleaded guilty to breaching the peace on the night in question.

Defence solicitor, Alma Whelan said her client had been in Galway for his brother-in-law’s stag and had too much to drink.

He had made a genuine attempt to take his own life that night, she said.

Ms Whelan explained her client had a history of depression as had his older brother who had just recently been released from a psychiatric unit.

Ms Whelan said the young man had dropped out of college due to depression but he was now working and saving to go back to college next year.

Asking Judge Fahy to be lenient and not record a conviction against her client, Ms Whelan said the young man’s father was in court and both he and his son were glad the volunteers had intervened on the night.  They had brought €300 to court to offer to Galway Waterways Patrol, she added.

Judge Fahy said she would not be recording a conviction in this particular case, given the young man’s history of depression.

She applied Section 1.1 of the Probation of Offender’s Act, which does not record a conviction and directed the €300 be forwarded to Galway Waterways Patrol.