June 2, 2023

‘Mam, I love you. You’re my best friend’ – tragic Jack Downey’s last words to his heartbroken mother

THE county Kilkenny mother of tragic Jack Downey, who died after taking an illegal substance at a music festival, urged her son to “mind yourself and don’t do anything quare” as he walked out the door for the last time.

The 19-year-old replied: “Mam, I love you. You’re my best friend.”

Elaine Downey spoke about the last words she exchanged with her beloved son in an interview with the Sunday Independent. In the interview, Elaine and her Garda husband Johnny told how they allowed friends and family to see Jack in the hospital to show them how drugs had “destroyed” his life.

Ms Downey, who is from Callan, said: “We were duty-bound to let every single person who came to that hospital see Jack Downey, the fine man that he was, destroyed. Destroyed by what happened.”

Johnny Downey, a garda in Clonmel, said: “They all saw Jack tubed up and wired up. There was a shock factor”.

He added: “He was on dialysis. His liver was totally destroyed. All his organs had failed”.

Ms Downey said she was concerned that so many young people were willing to take the risk of using illegal substances such as MDMA.

“Many young people today are different from how our lives used to be. They want a buzz. Many of them are sensible, educated, bright young people with great futures,” she said. “But all it takes is one big mistake and the results are awful and horrendous. And there is always someone there preying on them.”

Jack was their only child and had just completed his first year of accountancy studies at Cork Institute of Technology. He was passionate about GAA and was the goalkeeper for Clonmel Óg hurlers and the free-taker for Clonmel Óg footballers.

Ms Downey added: “We can’t let what happened to Jack happen to any other boy or girl. People have to stand up and speak. The young people need to look out for each other,” she said. “And people should be willing to pull youngsters aside if they are doing what they shouldn’t be doing, even if they get a tongue-lashing for intervening. We are all too casual about what is going on among young people in Ireland.”

PICTURE: Elaine Downey with her son Jack. Clonmel Óg Hurling and Football Facebook page 


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