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Suicide of Former Mr. Gay Derry Shocks Northern Ireland City

Derry_suicide

Eamon Johnston, Mr. Gay Derry 2003 and a favorite to win the Mr. Gay UK competition that year, was found dead in his home yesterday in an apparent suicide.

While the death on its own is tragic, 22-year-old Johnston is the eighth young person to commit suicide there in recent months.

The Rainbow Group, an LGBT support group in Northern Ireland, reportedly canceled its summer plans to close for the holidays in light of Johnston's death.

Said staff member David McCartney: "At this time, the thoughts of everyone here at The Rainbow Project are very much with the family and friends of Eamon. This event has sent waves of shock throughout both the gay and wider community, many of whom are struggling to comprehend what is happening. A sudden death of this nature traumatises communities in a way that is indescribable and causes immense emotional pain for those left behind. We are acutely aware of the vulnerability of those that knew Eamon and the need for support at this time. We urge anyone for whom this is having an impact to come and talk to us in confidence. Our door is open to anyone that would like to talk."

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  1. I'm aghast at this news. My mom, and her large family is from Derry, and I spent a lot of time there as a kid.

    Ironically, my uncle also comitted suicide there by drowning, years ago. He was schizophrenic, and I believe, gay as well.

    It's a beautiful place , but very hard to be gay, even now.
    I'm really saddened at this, and that young people - not all gay btw, ..just a shock.
    damn, I'm really upset, actually cryin'. There's a reason so many sad Irish song have been written about Derry.
    :(

    Posted by: Deschanel | Jul 12, 2007 5:04:14 PM


  2. Very sad. I wish we knew the whole story though, like if there were drugs involved, what his family was like and if he had a recent relationship issue.

    Posted by: Mike | Jul 12, 2007 5:08:14 PM


  3. There has been a spate of suicides in N Ireland just recently. This is the latest. The community up there is apparently distraught and baffled as to what is causing this.

    A poll was published recently which indicated that NI is the most homophobic place in the UK, Ulster in particular. I guess its the rabid catholicism and the likes of Paisley who fuel this crap.

    I really feel for his family. Awful.

    Posted by: atheist | Jul 12, 2007 6:46:53 PM


  4. I was a friend of Eamonn and he was one of the most bubliest, funniest, nicest guys you could ever meet. No one knows why this happened. I personally wouldnt put it down to religion or homophobia or drugs or anything. Eammonn could hold his own and if anyone was to give him grief he would tell them where to go!

    no one will ever know the full story, he was a happy guy - great friends and family and its a tragedy - he really was the life and sole of the party!

    This had nothing to do with catholicism or paisley!

    His bebo page was www.derrystoke.bebo.com look at that and you will get some idea of what Eammonn really was like!

    Posted by: Derry | Jul 12, 2007 10:37:22 PM


  5. Sad story. To clarify: The Rev. Ian Paisley is an arch Protestant and anti-Catholic.

    Posted by: anon (gmail.com) | Jul 13, 2007 12:06:52 AM


  6. Very sad news indeed and my condolences to the family.

    This tragedy is but part of a wider problem of high rates of suicide among young men in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland which is not new, but only has become a public/political issue in recent times with less stigma about suicide. I spent my teen years in rural Ireland near a major river, and the amount of "fishing accidents" was tremendous but weren't classed as suicides until recently. Very worrying trend.

    Posted by: Sean R | Jul 13, 2007 4:51:09 AM


  7. To clarify the calrification. As an Irish Catholic, I even have some degree of fondness for Ian Paisley. I think any blame should be attached to his son, recently appointed to a portfolio in charge of equal opportunities in the new Stormont government, who has been unrepentent in his opinion that he doesn't like gays and that they are indifferent to the harm they cause society.

    How could anyone not despair when the champion of your rights has already publicly declared his prejudice against you?

    Posted by: Sam Neill | Jul 13, 2007 5:27:15 PM


  8. It's the weather over there. It would drive anyone to suicide.

    Posted by: BJ Murphy | Jul 15, 2007 10:59:38 PM


  9. As Mr Gay Derry 2007 (and 1998 but I don't like to mention that one much because it ages me) I would like to express my sincerest condolences to the young man who lost his life and his family.

    Tony McGillicudy

    Posted by: Tony McGillicudy | Jul 15, 2007 11:33:11 PM


  10. Im Eamonns mother and I find it offensive that his death is discussed on a website and if anyone was at the funeral service im sure they heard what the priest said about his persona....The life and soul of the party,thats maybe what the problem was,the Bebo site will be closed in the next few days and i hope that we can get on with our lives as best we can without Eamonn as he is sorely missed

    Posted by: Bebe Johnston | Jul 16, 2007 5:43:21 PM


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