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Family left 'devastated' following sudden death of young father Odhran Doherty (19)

Odhran Doherty (19), from Ardoyne, died suddenly in the early hours of Tuesday
Marie Louise McConville

THE family of a caring young father who died suddenly at his home in north Belfast have spoken of how they have been left devastated.

Odhran Doherty (19), from Ardoyne, died in the early hours of Tuesday.

Well-known for his love of youth work, Mr Doherty had a nine-month-old daughter.

Having worked at the local Spar in Ardoyne, he was also employed by Bryson Recycling.

He was a member of Ardoyne Youth Centre since he was 12, and in recent years completed a fundraising cycle from Galway to Belfast in aid of suicide awareness.

Odhran Doherty pictured with his daughter, Aibreán, who is now nine-months-old

He was also a member of RCity, a cross-community organisation which brings young people together to develop positive leadership skills and enhance their personal and social development.

He twice travelled to South Africa as part of the project.

A JustGiving page set up to raise funds to help Odhran's family had last night raised more than £3,600.

Ciaran Doherty said the sudden death of his brother, who took his own life, did not "feel real".

He said his brother had previously suffered mental health issues and was receiving weekly counselling.

"It's very bizarre. Everything was looking up," he said.

"He was training at the gym with me to get his head sweet and then he was out with his friends and was working. All the signs were there he was getting better.

"Everyone here is gutted. It doesn't seem real. Everyone is waiting for him to come in."

Mr Doherty said his brother "loved youth work" and being "part of the community" and also helped their artist father Michael work on murals on the International Wall in west Belfast and in other locations.

"Everybody knew him," he said.

"He was a very caring person, he had a heart of gold. Anyone who met him wouldn't have had a bad word to say about him. He would have put people first - he was really selfless like that. Becoming a father was the best thing that ever happened to him. Every day after work he was straight over to see her. He cared about her so much."

Mr Doherty appealed to anyone feeling in distress to seek help.

"If you talk to a member of your family, it can really help," he said.

"There are people who love you and can help you. You are not suffering alone. There is help out there."

Joe O'Neill, Senior Youth Worker at Ardoyne Youth Club, said Odhran would be remembered as someone who "inspired others".

He said the young man was someone who "never passed you" and who "you always loved to see".

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

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