The devastated uncle of a Londonderry teenager who it’s feared has taken his own life has called for more support services in the city.
Dee Quigley spoke out as the family, rescue services and volunteers combed the banks of the River Foyle in the hope of finding 19-year-old Andy Quigley, from Galliagh, who went missing in the early hours of Saturday morning. His coat and other personal effects including it is understood a mobile phone were later found on the Foyle Bridge.
His family and friends and members of the community have been conducting searches along the banks of the Foyle and in the river since Saturday morning.
Andy’s uncle, Dee Quigley said he believed his nephew, who had a history of using drugs, had been let down by a lack of support services for drugs users needing a detox facility in the city.
“The resources are not there. This week it is our wee boy. Next week it could be your wee boy, your son, your daughter, your friend. We need to do something to stop letting our young people down.”
Mr Quigley said the ‘tragic circumstances’ surrounding the 19 year old’s disappearance highlights the need for statutory funding for organisations such as Foyle Search and Rescue and Hurt - both of which were recently refused grant-aid from the Social Investment Fund.
“We need to step back and look at what this city really needs,” he continued.
“We need organisations such as Foyle Search and Rescue, and we need organisations such as Hurt who are working with people with drug problems.”
Mr Quigley said he knew his nephew dabbled in drugs and that with use of substances such as mephedrone came “crippling lows”.
He said he believed his nephew must have been in one of these crippling lows when he went to the Foyle Bridge in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“I can just imagine that he felt despair,” Mr Quigley said. “That he was in a place where it seemed that being dead was a better option than being alive.”
Mr Quigley said his family were “devastated” by the events of the weekend and wanted to prevent other families having to experience the same heartache they were currently enduring.
“I’d ask parents to watch out what their children are doing.
“Part of the problem is that drugs are so cheap. And if you are living in poverty and want an escape it’s cheaper to bunch up with a couple of friends and get some meph or whatever.
“We need to get our young people to reconsider their recreational habits.”
Mr Quigley said it had been a comfort to the Quigley family that so many people had joined in the search to try and find Andy. It’s understood that the young man attended a birthday party shortly before he went missing.
Anyone who finds anything they believe to be related to the search is asked to call ‘999’ immediately.If you are in distress you can call The Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.