A Mayo community is stunned by the suicide of 39-year-old Catholic priest Father Muredach Tuffy.
Bishop of Killala Dr John Fleming said it was a mystery why the young priest did not share the anxiety that filled his mind, RTE reports. Speaking at Tuffy’s funeral mass at Saint Joseph’s Church, in Castleconnor, on All Saint’s Day, he said the community is stunned and grief-stricken by the tragedy.
Fleming said that manner of his passing should not darken his outstanding service in the diocese, for the past 13 years. He said Tuffy had given all of his considerable energy to the Newman Institute, in Ballina, a center for adult faith formation.
He said Tuffy’s second name was “availability” and his only fault was his inability to say “no”.
Tuffy’s body was discovered at his apartment, attached the Newman Institute, at Cathedral Close.
The previous Saturday Tuffy had officiated at a wedding of a friend in his hometown of Castleconnor.
Local Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary, a school friend of Tuffy at St Muredach’s College in Ballina, said Ballina was "shocked beyond belief".
Earlier in the week Father Brian D’Arcy, a well-known broadcaster, commented on the pressures being put on priests in Ireland amid the fallout from the clerical sexual abuse scandals which grappling with the Catholic Church's teachings on celibacy, contraception and homosexuality.
The Association of Catholic Priests told the Irish Examiner there was often a "palpable sense of dejection, depression and sometimes almost despair when clergy gather as a group".
On Facebook a “Fr. Muiredach Tuffy Memorial” page has been established with a focus on highlighting the help at hand for those suffering with mental health issues. One highlighted post reads “Should anyone feel overwhelmed or feel the need to speak to someone about loss or any other issue *P L E A S E* reach out. Please message in all confidence or use the Links posted below. Help is only a call or email away.”
Along with friends and members of his congregation is a note from a local mental health awareness group. They posted “The Mind Your Mind team are truly saddened by the sudden loss of Fr. Muredach Tuffy who supported us whole-heartedly. He will be missed immensely.”