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Howard requests Government to set up Suicide Prevention Authority

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*Cllr Mary Howard. Photograph: Martin Connolly

If it follows the precedent of the Road Safety Authority (RSA),  the establishment of a Suicide Prevention Authority will save countless lives across Ireland.

Cllr Mary Howard led the call for such an organisation to be founded when speaking at the adjourned April meeting of Clare County Council last week. Howard’s request will now be put to Government officials to determine the next step.

“It would be not terribly unlike the Road Safety Authority,” the Fine Gael representative explained. “We have more suicides than road fatalities in 2019, each suicide is someone’s son or daughter and it has a devastating impact on communities, we need to try and look at ways at how to prevent it as it ontinues to be the biggest killer of young men in women”.

“Two times more people die from suicide than on our roads yet ten times more money is spent on road safety than suicide prevention. This would be an independent authority. When you look back at when RSA was introduced our road deaths were in the hundreds but it worked and we can learn from that lesson,” the Ennis councillor added.

Her Fine Gael colleague, Cllr Johnny Flynn seconded the request. “This is a very important notice of motion. We need to embrace our ability to support people going through difficult periods”.

149 people lost their lives on Irish roads in 2018. Figures from the Central Statistics Office revealed that in 2017, there 392 died from suicide in the country, more than one person a day.

Support is available from the following organisations;

Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.ie
Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie (suicide, self-harm)
Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and 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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