Belfast Telegraph

Irish TD reveals battle with depression and bid to take his own life

By Kevin Doyle

A TD, who is set to become a minister in the Irish Government next week, has spoken out about feeling so low in his early 20s that he attempted to take his own life.

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran said he wanted to tell the public about what he termed his two secrets.

Next Friday, as part of a deal between the Independent Alliance and Fine Gael, he will take over from Sean Canney as the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief.

And now he wants to "let the public have a real image of what Boxer Moran is like".

"There's no point in me telling half the story. I know there are plenty of people that are going to criticise me for what I'm going to say to you. I'll take that criticism. But I would say nobody is perfect in Dail Eireann," he told the Irish Independent.

Boxer, as he likes to be called, has two secrets that have weighed heavily on him for decades. The first is the battle with dyslexia that saw him quit school at 12. The second is how close he came to killing himself in his early 20s.

"It's something that I never spoke about or told anybody about. I kept it inside of me. I'm not proud of it," the 54-year-old said of the latter.

Financial problems in his taxi firm had stacked up on top of what he now believes was depression. He suffered panic attacks and didn't know where to turn for help.

"This particular Sunday I was out with the lads at a clay pigeon shoot. Normally I'd drop the lads at the pub and I'd go home. But this day I didn't go home. I went up a back road," he recalled.

"What came over me that day for six or seven minutes I don't know. It was a complete blackout. I did have a bad time in my life. I did load a gun and I did pull the trigger… But I pulled away the gun at the last second. What made me do that I can't tell you."

The Longford/Westmeath TD went through several "horrible" months trying to recover from the shock and getting to grips with his mental health problems.

"What I experienced that day is within me still and I carry it. What I have done is used it to help others," he said.

He entered politics in the mid-1990s after joining Fianna Fail and getting elected to Westmeath County Council and Athlone Town Council. He went on to become the Mayor of Athlone.

Boxer contested Fianna Fail's nomination to stand at the 2007 general election but was narrowly defeated at convention by Mary O'Rourke. After splitting from the party, he ran in the 2011 election and the 2014 by-election.

But he never admitted his dyslexia until he joined TDs Shane Ross and Michael Fitzmaurice in the Independent Alliance.

Boxer says he intends to spend "longer hours" preparing for his contributions than other ministers.

"I'll give it my best shot. I won't be the first politician if I make a mistake. Once I don't make a mistake that might hurt the country, I don't mind. If I make a mistake reading the script, so be it," he added.

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