Today the inquest into the deaths of Nollaig Owen and her son returned an open verdict. The whole story has been, quite rightly, been treated delicately by the press and all concerned have full sympathies with the young woman, who clearly had mental health issues. While the inquest returned an open verdict it is taken that the most likely explanation is that the mother took both her child and her own life, similar to another tragedy when a mother threw herself and her child off the Cliffs of Moher.
If it were a father, however, would he be given the same benefit of doubt or would he be denounced a "monster" by the tabloids?
I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is a stigma around men's mental health issues that really need to be addressed by the media in this country. It reflects on how we still see the divisions of gender - the strong men and weak women - I'm amazed more women weren't offended by Eoghan Harris' patronising defense of Grainne Carruth, the Taoiseach's secretary on Today FM's The Last Work last week. The constant references to how she's had three children, how she's "just" a housewife now and suggesting how the big bad tribunal are harassing a lil woman who is out of her depth in this mans world of a tribunal were unbelievable. I nearly expected Harry Enfield to pop out.
In this day and age you can add "Men: don't expose yours" to that mantra.