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Speaking out is the best way to beat bullies; Teenager says heartbreaking call to Liveline helped turn his life around.

Byline: JIM GALLAGHER

A BRAVE teenager who went on the national airwaves to reveal how he tried to kill himself because of bullying has got his life back on track.

Padraig Byrne shocked the nation last year when he rang RTE's Joe Duffy to tell how he had been terrorised in both primary and secondary school.

The 18-year-old's heartbreaking story got a massive reaction from listeners who rang in to sympathise because they too had been bullied.

His parents Sarah and Anthony had not known the extent of his suffering until they heard him on the radio.

Now the courageous Dublin teenager has revealed how coming forward to tell his story helped him to turn his life around and he is now pursuing his ambition to become a paramedic or firefighter.

He said: "I graduated from a pre paramedic fire and ambulance pre-paramedic, course and it was my joy just to walk up and take my certificate and sit back down. That put a smile on my face."

And he encouraged other victims to speak out "because we are losing too many teenagers at the moment who don't think there is anyone to talk to."

His mum burst into tears as she told Duffy she was so proud of him.

Sobbing, Sarah added: "He always wanted to be a firefighter from the age of three.

I would say "He kept that going and we couldn't believe it.

because the fear "We are very proud of him, delighted with him, that he came from where he was to this.

what happen "He is getting better, he is coming on."

PADRAIG ON FEAR OF " Padraig revealed he always wanted to speak out but didn't know where to turn until after his 18th birthday when he rang the radio talk show.

He told how slagging in primary school eventually led to y physical violence and he would hide away at lunchtime.

Padraig's clothes were thrown in the shower at PE sessions and he would have to walk home soaking, telling his mum he had just been messing around.

He said: "I would not say anything to anyone because of fear of what would happen. It just got worse and worse because I was not talking about it. I kept it in.

i "I never said anything, never spoke out about it because I didn't think anyone would listen.

not anything of "That's how bad the bullying was at primary school.

of would "I thought of ending my life because I did not know where to go or what to do."

BYRNE BULLYING " Sarah tried to get out of Padraig what was wrong but he only told her a little and then begged her not to go to the school.

a She added: "It's hard to sit there and see your child going through all this."

At secondary school another mother called to say her son was being beaten up and she rushed to the playground.

p pyg Sarah said: "Two mothers had to drag the bully off my son and I had to take him to Temple Street [hospital].

"Imagine sitting there having to look at your son after being battered."

Padraig admitted he didn't tell his parents much of his ordeal.

He said: "I never told them the proper impact it was having on me. They could not really do much.

"It was only when I left school they realised how much of an impact it really had."

Dad Anthony was concerned about what was happening to his son.

He added: "I went through a bad patch worried about him. My own mental health was affected. The whole family was affected."

It was then Padraig decided to ring RTE Radio One.

Broadcaster Joe Duffy said: "We had an enormous reaction to Padraig's story from all over the country, from all ages, victims of bullying in all its awful guises.

"It was if Padraig had opened a door for so many people to speak out at last." |Liveline Callback is on Thursday on RTE One at 8.30pm.

news@irishmirror.ie COMMENT: PAGE 10

him. because I wa"I would not say anything because of the fear of what would happen PADRAIG BYRNE on fear of bullying

CAPTION(S):

COURAGEOUS Padraig Byrne decision to call Liveline was life-changing

SADDENED Anthony and Sarah did not know about their son's troubles

TURMOIL Padraig was bullied at school

HAPPIER TIMES Padraig is better after leaving school
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 9, 2017
Words:740
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