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Killaloe & Ballina communities rallying together following recent suicides

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Community groups and personnel in the Killaloe and Ballina area are rallying together following the tragic deaths of two young men in recent weeks.

Several community groups and organisations are now working together in conjunction with guidance and support from Pieta House and the HSE following the recent deaths of the two men in their early twenties.

Groups such as Darkness Into Light Killaloe Ballina, Killaloe/Ballina Community and Family Resource Centre, Smith O’Briens GAA and Ballina Killaloe RFC have shared contact details for Pieta House’s 24/7 suicide helpline in an attempt to get people to seek help when they need it.

“Our community has been completely shattered by the tragic death of another cherished young person to suicide,” a spokesperson for Darkness Into Light Killaloe Ballina said.

A meeting co-ordinated by the Killaloe/Ballina Community and Family Resource Centre took place recently. Cllr Tony O’Brien from Killaloe outlined to The Clare Echo that the aim was to better assist individuals involved in the various organisations. “They were taking guidance from Pieta House and the HSE, they had measures in place and involved local clubs and organisations in the Killaloe-Ballina area to encourage anyone that needed to speak to somebody or seek help and assistance, even people involved in those clubs who might be able to help people who did not know what to do to contact them. They gave out information on how to deal with particular situations. There was a very good coming together of the community and the agencies involved in mental health”.

“It was tragic and both those young men left their families and many friends bereaved. It’s always sad when a young person loses their life,” the Fianna Fáil representative commented of the recent deaths in the area.

Cllr O’Brien added, “It has impacted on the entire community. All we can do, at times we feel so helpless, all we can do is help each other, reach out to each other and the families and be there for them and the many good friends of those deceased men they left behind and their families. We’ve to help each other out, that’s what community is all about. These are not the circumstances you would like to see anything coming through but I think there is always a resilience in communities. Irish people in general, the length and breadth of the country when a community is hit by a tragedy or tragedies it really shows the Irishness and the community spirit that’s in us, it always seems to come to the fore and we always seem to be there for one another, it’s an Irish trait and long may it continue”.

Raising awareness of suicide has been carried out in local schools over the past few months. Transition year students of St Anne’s Community College Killaloe carried out a cycle against suicide and also partook in the annual Darkness Into Light.

Pieta House’s 24/7 Suicide Helpine can be contacted on 1800-247-247.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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