Belfast Telegraph

Tributes paid to 'gentle soul' Liam Diver who took own life five years after loss of his sister

Liam Diver
Liam Diver
Liam's sister Louise
Liam's uncle Sean
Leona O'Neill

By Leona O'Neill

A Co Tyrone community has been left in shock after a teenager took his own life over Christmas - five years after his older sister passed away in similar tragic circumstances.

Eighteen-year-old Liam Diver died on December 30. He was found in his Strabane home and died in Altnagelvin Hospital.

His older sister Louise, aged just 20, took her own life in March 2015 and almost a year to the day to that date the body of his uncle, Sean 'Smurf' Diver (39), was removed from the River Foyle after a six-week search.

Liam has been described by those who knew him as a 'gentle, polite and lovely soul' who was 'happy and well-mannered'.

The young man's tragic death has shocked the Strabane community and plunged the Diver family into grief once more.

Liam's aunt Bernie took to social media to say that the family were 'heartbroken' by their loss.

"Why is this always happening to our family?" she said. "Again heartbroken. No words. Rest in peace my beautiful nephew Liam.

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"You were only 18 years old. Your godfather Smurf and Louise will look after you now. God takes too many of our angels. Sleep easy wee man, you'll be missed so much."

His uncle Mark also paid tribute to the popular young man.

"Today you grew your wings," he said. "You are home with Louise and Smurf, Granda and all the rest. May they guide and protect you and watch over your mum, dad, brothers and sisters in the coming days. Sleep tight Kiddo. Taken too soon."

The Cairde na Gaelscoile in Strabane, where Liam had been a pupil, said he was known for his 'happy and jolly nature'.

"It was with great sadness that we learned yesterday of the death of one of our former pupils," they said.

"We will always remember Liam for his happy, jolly nature, his great personality, brilliant mathematical ability and for being a well mannered young man."

And Craft Training, where Liam was a trainee, described him as a 'lovely soul'.

"We are devastated to hear about our trainee Liam this morning," they said.

"A gentle, polite and lovely soul. Our deepest condolences to the Diver family."

Strabane independent councillor Raymond Barr said the latest tragedy to hit the Diver family was 'every parent's worst nightmare'. "It is impossible to imagine the suffering this family will be enduring," he said. "A cloud of grief has descended on Strabane and everyone feels it.

"This is the third tragedy to hit this family. I know that Liam's sister Louise took her own life five years ago and then his godfather Smurf.

"It's just heartbreaking and there has been a huge outpouring of grief in the town for these well-thought of members of this local family. When Smurf was missing, a search galvanised the community into looking for him and also for looking out for the family and I know the same thing will happen now as they cope with another loss.

"This young man's loss has cast a shadow over the town. It's every parent's worst nightmare."

Mr Barr said that 'something needs to be done to tackle the growing mental health problem in the town'. "Our young people are crying out for help, but who's listening?" he said. "Mental health is the biggest issue facing the young people in our society and more needs to be done to deal with this problem.

"I would be calling for more support for mental health services in the town.

"The Koram Centre in the town provides counselling and support for those with mental health issues, but they are overrun.

"They can't cope with what is coming their way. They have around 20 walk-ins a day and are really under pressure.

"I think the situation with suicides will just get worse unless the appropriate funding and support is provided to places like this. It is something that needs to be addressed.

"My heart goes out to the Diver family and I'm sure the people of Strabane will be there for them in the coming days, weeks and months."

Liam's funeral takes place tomorrow at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Strabane at 10am.

If you or anyone close to you is affected by any issues in this article, please contact the Samaritans free on 116 123 or Lifeline on 0808 808 8000

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