FOUR weeks after tragically setting herself alight in a desperate attempt to end her own life, Hacketstown woman Sharon Joyce has died.
The 46-year-old mother of three passed away in St James’s Hospital, Dublin on Thursday 1 November surrounded by her heartbroken family. The Joyce family had kept a vigil by her hospital bedside over the past four weeks, as medics battled to save Sharon’s life, despite her horrendous injuries, including severe burns to more than 80% of her body.
On Sunday 30 September, Sharon tragically set herself on fire outside Carlow Garda Station, just hours after her family became aware that she had absconded from the mental health facility in Carlow town. Sharon was under the care of the HSE’s psychiatric services and for the final weeks of her life was a resident at the HSE’s Greenbanks Crisis House, Athy Road, Carlow.
At approximately 10.45am on that Sunday morning, Sharon was observed by a garda dousing herself in petrol and setting herself alight. The incident occurred on a small green area across the road from the station and close to the offices of Carlow County Council. The garda immediately ran out with a fire extinguisher, while an ambulance which was in the vicinity was quickly on the scene, assisted by Carlow Fire Service.
The Joyce family have been left devastated by Sharon’s horrific incident of self-harm and subsequent death. They believe their beloved mother and sister was “utterly failed by the system”.
Speaking to The Nationalist following the tragic incident, Sharon’s sister Linda said: “We are speaking out because we want to tell Sharon’s story; no-one should have to go through what she went through. There was absolutely no support out there for Sharon. This is going on for five years, in and out of St Luke’s Hospital, in and out of Greenbanks Crisis House … everywhere we turned, a dead end.”
Sharon is survived by her devastated children Michael, Shannon and Jonathan, her sisters Ann, Mary, Debbie, Michelle, Fiona and Linda, her nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and friends.
Requiem Mass for Sharon was held in St Brigid’s Church, Hacketstown last Saturday morning, followed by burial in Hacketstown Cemetery.