Decrease in suicides welcomed
Published 01/06/2014 | 19:32
Campaigners have hailed a decrease in suicides in Ireland but warned too many people are still taking their own lives.
Latest official figures show a 6% drop in suicides last year, including a more substantial 23% fall in the number of young people reported as dying by suicide.
However Ireland still has the fourth highest suicide rate in Europe in the 15 to 24 age group, and there was a rise in the number of those taking their lives aged between 45 to 54 years.
Ciaran Austin of Console, a suicide prevention and bereavement charity, said a "real-time" reporting system was needed to allow authorities to react to any upsurge in particular areas at a given time.
"We need significant changes and investment in research as the lack of accurate up-to-date information is impeding our ability to understand and respond to the awful tragedy of suicide in a timely fashion," he said.
The latest figures, from a Central Statistics Office report, show an encouraging trend with a 40% drop in suicides over two years in the younger 15 to 24 year old age group.
More than eight in every ten reported suicides is a man.
Mr Austin also highlighted a 26% rise among people in the 45 to 54 age group as a cause of concern.
"This would mirror a rise in calls to our 1800 247 247 helpline from people in this age category," he said.
"In particular, we saw a huge increase in calls to our rural helpline in 2013 due to the fodder crisis."
Mr Austin added that it was "alarming" that the rate of suicide was well above the national average in some areas of the country, including Cavan, Carlow, Kerry, Roscommon and Wexford.
Console can be reached at any time on freephone 1800 247 247 or on its website at www.console.ie.