Leonie Fennell

RCSI Student in Ireland

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Following the death of my son Shane, I decided to become a law student and save the world. While I haven't (as yet) managed to do so, I have learned much along the way. I graduated with a law degree in 2015 as a mature(ish) student and a medico-legal MSc from the Royal College of Surgeons this year (2017).

My gorgeous, funny, son Shane (22), was named by his college lecturers 'an chroi mór' (the big heart) - he died tragically in August 2009. A mere 17 days before his death he was prescribed the anti-depressant Citalopram (Cipramil/Celexa) for a relationship break-up.

Despite the fact that Shane died in an extremely violent manner, the jury at Shane’s inquest rejected a suicide verdict - mainly due to the testimony of Dr David Healy, who testified that SSRI anti-depressants can cause suicide and violence. His report is here.

Following Shane’s inquest, Lundbeck (the manufacturer of Citalopram) stated on Irish TV that it was a safe drug - despite this ‘Dear Doctor’ warning letter they sent out to healthcare professionals stating otherwise (memory failure can be a terrible thing). Irish Psychiatry adopted a similar stance, using the media and my son's case to defend their dubious 'medical model'.

Irish psychiatrist Patricia Casey even turned up (uninvited) at my son’s Inquest, offering her 'assistance' as 'amicus curiae' to the coroner (who politely declined). After Shane's inquest concluded (on the steps of the Coroner's court), she spoke of her 'issues' with the process, dismissing Professor Healy’s testimony as 'speculative'. She later stated that she didn't think it was the drug, rather a 'mental illness' that Shane was suffering from - posthumously diagnosing my son on National TV while neglected to mention her many years collaborating with Lundbeck and receiving honoraria (cash or gifts) for same.

Professor Tim Dinan of University College Cork, also disputed that antidepressants can cause harm. Despite being an Irish Medicines Board committee member, he too didn't seem aware of the SSRI warnings provided by them (memory problems among Irish psychiatry must be contagious). He has also collaborated for many years with Lundbeck - and yes, received numerous honoraria from same.

Neither of these psychiatrists knew Shane. He who pays the piper..


  • Education
    • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
    • Institute of Technology, Carlow
    • Dublin Institute of Technology