In his recent retirement as pathology technician at Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar, Sean Bourke highlighted the lack of a dedicated bereavement counsellorllor at the complex.
He said he and his colleagues in the mortuary department were left with the task of comforting and consoling family members, particularly in sudden and tragic death situations.
Indeed, Mr. Bourke was the public face of Mayo General and his understanding, dedication, compassion and professionalism certainly eased the burden of death for thousands of families countywide.
Mr. Bourke, who retired on his 65th birthday had the distinction of becoming one of the first persons in Ireland to have qualified as a pathology technician in 1978.
He was known far and wide for his courtesy and sincere approach in liaising with bereaved relatives at times of great stress and trauma, often far beyond the call of duty.
Mr. Bourke said a bereavement counsellor is on duty at University College Hospital, Galway, and he urged for such an appointment to be made at Mayo General.
A former member of Mayo County Council (10 years) and Castlebar Town Council (24 years) - where he served as mayor - Sean Bourke was one of the most popular public representatives to grace the local authority chambers, a fact well demonstrated by the support shown for him at the ballot box.
He has also expressed concern at the high death rate from suicide in Mayo and said if a similar number died in road tragedies there would be public outrage to tackle the problem.
He expressed the view local media should be doing more to highlight the instances of suicide.
It was an unwritten rule since I joined the newspaper business in 1968 that we do not report on suicide cases from the coroner's court.
It was as a gesture of support for the bereaved families that further publicity would add to their grieving.
Maybe this should change.
In recent times the West of Ireland Branch of the National Union of Journalists held a conference on the coverage of suicide.
While nothing concrete emerged from the session it did highlight the need to formulate a future policy on the coverage of suicide.
One way of approaching the issue would be to publish the cause of death, without going into the innate details or identifying the deceased.
Now that the issue has resurfaced, thanks to Mr. Bourke, perhaps it is time to finally formulate a policy on reporting suicide within the industry.