Mayor of Kerry’s Tribute to Donal Walsh

Released: 13 May 2013

The news of the death of Donal Walsh has cast a gloom over the county of Kerry. To hear of the untimely death of a young teenager is always difficult, because you immediately think of the life they have not yet lived.

But in Donal’s case, I think we should also celebrate the life that he did live, and the many things that he squeezed into his short life.

For people around Kerry and around Ireland, Donal has been an inspiration. The way he approached his illness and the manner in which he spoke out directly about issues have touched this nation.

His story and courage has enabled us to put into perspective the difficult challenges we are all facing at the moment. In particular his strong views on the subject of teen suicide have helped to shine a light on a subject often left unspoken.

Donal has spoken to his own generation and helped to start a discussion that will hopefully benefit many in years to come.

Too often we are quick to criticize young people for their actions or for their thoughtlessness. This is not fair on the younger generation, and in Donal we have a prime example of the good that young people do and the way they can inspire us.

Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh siad. We should be true to that old Irish saying and encourage our young people. They are our future leaders. They have the brains and the talent that we can only dream of and we must nurture that and advise, rather than criticise.

Donal Walsh continues to be an inspiration for many people, a person whose words and deeds have far outweighed his short time on this earth. We in Kerry are hugely proud of Donal and as a community we will come together to help his family and friends through this difficult time as best we can.

As a parent, my heart goes out to Finbarr, Elma and Jemma. No parent should have to bury their child, but in life, the cards we are dealt are not always fair.

In time though, I hope they will realize what a magnificent son they raised and they should take immense pride in that. I also hope that when they see the impact that Donal’s words and deeds have had on the people of this country, it will give them some comfort.

His selflessness his straight talking and his wisdom, all greater than his tender years, have touched a chord with many people.

A light has gone out in Blennerville and we join with the Walsh family in mourning their loss. But we will also take some solace in the words of Cicero who said that: “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living”

Let us remember Donal Walsh and his legacy. Let us treasure life and appreciate it, and let us leave others into our lives to help us through the difficult days.


Cllr Terry O’Brien
Mayor of Kerry

Kerry County Council, Co. Buildings, Rathass, Tralee

Phone: (066) 718 3500     Email:

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