'These things were not meant to happen to us': Taoiseach speaks about loss of two children

The politician touched on the loss of two of his five children: his son Ruairí and daughter Léana.
'These things were not meant to happen to us': Taoiseach speaks about loss of two children

Taoiseach Micheál Martin on RTÉ’s ‘The Meaning of Life’. ‘If I walk the fields in West Cork Léana’s in my mind. You go back over the places you were happy with Léana,’ he said. Picture: RTÉ

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin fought back tears in a recent interview while recalling memories of his young children’s tragic deaths.

The touching recollection featured on RTÉ’s The Meaning of Life, which saw Mr Martin chat to presenter Joe Duffy about how life and spirituality has influenced his opinions, values, and beliefs.

The politician touched on the loss of two of his five children: his son Ruairí and daughter Léana.

He described those extremely dark days. “Ruairí’s death was just an enormous shock,” he told Joe Duffy.

“I described earlier how life was very happy. We had a good family. These things were not meant to happen to us. To this day I find it very hard to talk about Léana’s death.”

He described the years leading up to Léana’s death.

“She was a beautiful child,” he said of Léana. “She had a heart condition which we felt would be manageable but we got into challenges. It was a terrible, terrible trauma. She was so lovely, so affectionate. She was the light of the family. I have no doubt about that. 

"It really knocked us and life hasn’t been the same in many ways. In many ways you learn to live with that terrible trauma and the reality of it.”

He praised the mother of his children, his wife Mary, throughout the interview.

“She does a beautiful calendar every year with photographs of Léana and her friends, family, cousins and friends. All these help. They are small things but they help. They won’t ever bring Léana back but she is still part of our lives if that makes sense.

“If I walk the fields in West Cork Léana’s in my mind. You go back over the places you were happy with Léana.”

He credits their children for helping them through that intense period.

“The other kids got us through when I talk about Ruairí’s death. I mentioned that Micheál Aodh and Aoibhe were four and two. We had to get up with them the next morning. 

"You have to play the games with them you still have to get breakfast for them. You have to do the routine of life.”

He says that faith did not play a part in his healing process.

“I can’t say it was of any great comfort,” he said. “I don’t have that deep relationship that would enable you to get angry in one way. At time(s) of death and trauma the first person you meet is a priest or a chaplain in a hospital. Fr James was very helpful at the time he just came down chatting because he knew Léana. He had a certain approach that I found helpful at the time.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130
EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more