Saturday 17 March 2018

Gardaí investigating two apparent suicides within a day of each other

Killarney Garda station, Co. Kerry
Killarney Garda station, Co. Kerry

Tomas Heneghan

The tragic deaths of a man and a woman just days apart in south Kerry last week has brought the number of suspected suicides in the area this year to six.

South and West Kerry Municipal District Councillor Michael Cahill called news of the recent deaths a “horrific story” and expressed his condolences with the family who he said were “very well-known and well-respected”.

It emerged this week that the pair were known to each other.

Cllr Cahill, explained: “They would have had the same circle of friends.”

He said the deaths made for “shocking news” and that south Kerry was in a state of shock following the tragic deaths.

Gardaí in South Kerry are investigating the suspected suicides. The man died on June 28 and the woman was discovered dead in another part of the county the next day.

Kerry South coroner Terrence Casey confirmed the recent tragedy has brought the total number of suspected suicides in south Kerry since the beginning of 2016 to six, while there were seven deaths by suicide in the area in 2015.

Cllr Cahill explained that up to recent years suicide in the area had been an issue for people in their teens and twenties, however he said the age profile had now shifted and that suicide was now an issue for all age groups in the area.

“Rural isolation is a huge profile here,” he explained. He said that some people in the area stay there to take care of elderly relatives with farms and when those relatives pass on, people are “stuck looking at four walls”.

He pointed to initiatives such as South Kerry Partnership and the events and trips the group organises as a possible help for people in such circumstances.

Cllr Cahill said suicide prevention and bereavement charities were also a great help. He said that despite the recent revelations in relation to the Console charity, others such as Pieta House were “was a wonderful organisation”.

He added: “We have some excellent charities."

However he said it was “a shame they’re being brought down” by the actions of those involved with some other charities.

Meanwhile local Fianna Fail councillor Norma Moriarty said the recent deaths were “terribly sad for everyone  involved.”

She explained that there had been a “lull significantly” following the death of Donal Walsh a number of years ago.

“Sadly we’re no different to any other community,” she added.

She said that it was important that there is a blueprint in place to tackle the issue of suicide in Ireland and that so far suicide prevention “hasn’t been properly funded”.

“It crosses every demographic, every age group and every gender." She said campaigns like Cycle Against Suicide and other awareness campaigns were important in tackling the issue.

The Samaritans  can be contacted by phone at  116 123. This number is FREE to call. The 1life Freephone  is available 24 hours a day at 1800 247 100 or text the word HELP to 51444. The 1life service is of particular relevance to people who are feeling very low, have had suicidal thoughts.

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