Yet again Ireland has suffered another horrific familicide. This time a retired couple, Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy from County Donegal, were found dead in their home. Their son Julian, a mechanical engineer, has been detained by Gardaí; an axe found at the family home is believed to be the murder weapon.
The Irish Times reported that Julian Cuddihy had been ‘medically assessed recently after concerns were expressed about his mental health’. He had been found close to the scene with a legally held shotgun and was suicidal. Most of the newspapers reported that he had recently ‘suffered from depression’, as if this somehow explained the tragedy. More stated that there is no clear motive, that Julian was very close to his parents and that the community is in shock. One source said that there was ‘certainly no issue between himself and the parents’ and that ‘there was nothing to suggest that this was coming’. He further stated that the community’s heart goes out to Julian as well as his parents.
Friends of Julian said that he had been ‘angry and agitated’ this week, which they found odd. The Irish Independent quoted a friend as saying “Julian is a normally quiet soul, well educated and articulate but he just didn’t appear to be himself in recent days”.
So how then could this happen? As was the case with the other recent Irish familicides, Julian had recent ‘medical intervention’. What was he prescribed? Was he prescribed an SSRI (Selective Serotonin ReuUptake Inhibitor), known to double the risk of suicide and violence. If so, did the drug cause mania, psychosis or akathisia (a well known precursor to suicide and violence). Certainly the agitation Julian demonstrated points to akathisia. Was he prescribed an SSRI for the first time or was his medication changed while he was being accessed? This tragedy certainly seems to have all the hallmarks of an SSRI tragedy. Similar to the O’Driscoll and Skeffington tragedies, by all accounts Julian was a nice guy, this tragedy was ‘out of the blue’, was uncharacteristic and he had recently been ‘medically accessed’.
The 3 experts who went to Leinster House and told Kathleen Lynch that SSRIs are causing many deaths, even suicide and homicide, may be shocked to realise that the Irish Government have done nothing. As with my son Shane’s case, if this Donegal tragedy is SSRI induced, as I suspect it is, the Irish Government should hang their heads in shame. My sincere condolences to the Cuddihy family.