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Tuesday 20 February 2018

'I honestly thought in my heart Console could be rebranded and survive' - Former mayor who lost son to suicide

Peter Roche with a picture of his son Colin Photo: Ray Ryan
Peter Roche with a picture of his son Colin Photo: Ray Ryan

Caroline Crawford and Laura Larkin

A former Console ambassador in Galway has told of his shock at the sudden closure of the suicide prevention charity, describing it as being "like a bereavement".

Former Galway Mayor Peter Roche, who lost his son to suicide, said the closure was "shattering news".

"I suppose it was on life support for the past 10 days and now that life support has been withdrawn. The curtains have come down on something very special," he said.

Mr Roche said that steps must now be taken to urgently plug the gap left by the loss of Console.

Console founder Paul Kelly Photo: Robbie Reynolds
Console founder Paul Kelly Photo: Robbie Reynolds

"There was an extraordinary network of people working for and supporting Console right around the country, even during the height of the recession.

"I spoke to one of the councillors in Galway yesterday who told me they were seeing the same number of people and the same need despite what has happened recently.

"If you look beyond the fact that all these people are losing their own jobs, their greatest concern is that people they were helping will have nowhere to turn.

"The positive work they did resonated with people, they were the first line of inquiry if someone was feeling unwell. Now that lifeline is gone," he said.

He said the closure had "sucked the life out of the counsellors as well as from Console".

"There is a real crisis nationally. I honestly thought in my heart that it could be rebranded under new people and survive. Just because Console is gone doesn't mean the need is gone," he added.

Irish Independent

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