Popular Sunnysider takes his own life
By Bill Parry
Sunnyside’s Irish community was stunned to learn of the death of Paul O’Shaughnessy over the weekend.
The 44 year old, who lived on 44th Street, took his own life on Friday night, leaving behind his wife, Susan, and four children aged from six to 16 years.
Known as “Shocko” to his large circle of friends, he was a carpenter from Trim, County Meath, who had great success in the US in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
O’Shaughnessy and his family decided to move to Ireland during the heydays of the “Celtic Tiger”, only to return to the US upon its collapse. After his return to Sunnyside, O’Shaughnessy soon realized that most of his contacts had moved away. His business suffered as a result.
While most wouldn’t discuss the circumstances of his death, one family friend of 15 years said O’Shaughnessy had “succumbed to his demons.”
A wake was held at Lynch’s Funeral Home on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday evening, a crowd that approached 150 turned up.
Father Brendan Duggan, who came from St. Mary’s Winfield Church in Woodside, spoke at the Tuesday gathering, and said the economy has caused much suffering and offered “encouragement for those left behind.” Father Duggan also asked, “What do you say to the family at a time like this?”
After the wake, Father Duggan said: “Suicide continues to haunt the Irish community.” The priest went on to implore relatives and friends of the depressed to seek help from community leaders or a priest.
He added that “I am not a licensed counselor, but Catholic Charities can always help those in need.”
Father Duggan will lead the funeral service at St. Sebastian’s on Thursday at 11am.