The late Diego Gilsenan (18).

‘Hurt’ late son used by anti-vax campaign

A Kingscourt woman has spoken about the pain she and her family have felt after an image of her late son, who died from suicide, was used in an anti-vaccine publication

Michael Keaveny reports...

Edel Campbell’s 18-year-old Diego Gilsenan is one of 42 people to feature in the magazine ‘The Irish Light’ claiming that they died suddenly and their deaths were related to the COVID-19 vaccine and the effects of lockdown. The editor of the publication is journalist Gemma O’Doherty.

Edel recently spoke to the Celt about the pain of seeing her son in the publication. She feels her family was exploited. “If it was mental health or anything like that, I wouldn’t mind. She took his picture from RIP. Who goes on to get pictures like that?”

Edel says she only found out Diego’s picture had been used after her friend spotted it and she hasn’t contacted any of the other families affected.

“A family friend saw it by chance. She saw Diego’s picture on the front of it and told me. I haven’t contacted any other families because how do I tell them their child’s picture is here if they don’t know already?”

Edel says that, despite contacting those behind the publication a number of times, the picture has yet to be removed online. “I can’t describe the pain. She doesn’t know if he got the vaccine.”

Edel insists: “All I want is for my son’s picture to be taken off her social media sites.”

She says the fallout from the incident has had a massive impact on her life. “I haven’t done anything wrong here. I tried to contact her before I went public. I don’t want this drama in my life. I drove 10 miles today to get a loaf of bread because I didn’t want to go into a shop in my hometown because, if someone said it to me, I could break down in the middle of the shop. I didn’t know who this woman was until recently.”

Edel has three other children aged 10, 11, and 13 years and says it’s very upsetting for them.

“It hasn’t just affected me, it affected my children. My daughter came home from school yesterday and I had to tell her what was going on because I was afraid somebody might sent her a Snapchat about it or something. She wanted to listen to the radio coverage of the incident. She cried the whole way through. I had to tell my nine and 10-year-olds because they overheard us talking about it.

“That night I found my 10-year-old son lying in bed awake and I asked him why was he awake. I asked why was he awake and he said ‘I’m thinking’. I asked what was he thinking about and he said ‘I’m thinking about how much I want to punch that woman’.”

The Irish Light have been contacted for comment.