Northern Ireland news

After west Belfast dad-of-5 dies by suicide, brother urges other men to 'talk, no matter what it is'

West Belfast man Anthony O'Toole pictured with his grandson Corey
Marie Louise McConville

THE brother of a west Belfast father-of-five who took his own life has appealed to other men to “never hold anything in” and “talk, no matter what it is”.

Barry O’Toole said his family are in “complete shock” following the sudden death of his brother Anthony, who was known as Tony.

The 45-year-old, who was the manager of Four Star Pizza on Lisburn Road in the south of the city, was found at his Turf Lodge home by his mother. She lived next door to her son and went to check on him when did not arrive at work.

Tony, who had become a grandfather in the past year, died at his home at Norglen Crescent last Friday.

Barry described his brother as someone who was “caring” and had a “big heart”.

“Tony never had any mental health problems and never talked about feeling low,” he said.

“You never think it is coming to your door. If you knew him, never in a million years would you have thought he would have contemplated it.”

Barry said his brother was “a happy-go-lucky legend”.

“He was caring. For my mum, he did everything for her. He was one of the funniest people. He was just down to earth, just so happy. That’s why it is such a shock to the system. He never talked about feeling down,” he said.

Barry said his brother was well known in the community as he had run three Belfast Marathons in recent years for two cancer charities and a suicide awareness cause.

He revealed that Tony had saved a friend’s life twice. When the pair were on a youth club trip to Ballycastle as teenagers, his friend was pushed off a pier into water and became entangled in weeds. Tony jumped in, dragged him to safety and helped resuscitate him. Years later, when the same friend was targeted by a man armed with a knife, Tony wrestled the attacker to the ground and took the weapon from him.

“He touched many people’s lives,” Barry said.

Barry pleaded with other men to reach out for help and talk about their feelings.

“Don’t be afraid to talk, no matter what it is,” he said.

“Never hold anything in. Have no regrets. Reach out to your family because every single one of them love you.”

:: Anyone in distress can contact Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 or Samaritans on 116 123.

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