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Saturday 24 February 2018

'Someone takes their own life every four days here'

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

TWO suicide clusters have been identified in Cork – one of which involved 13 people taking their lives in the space of just three months.

The second cluster involved seven deaths over two months.

Both clusters happened in 2011 and have been confirmed by the National Suicide Research Foundation.

The areas have not been identified.

The first suicide cluster includes 12 men and one woman ranging in age from 37 to 54.

Most were married or co-habiting and nearly half were living with partners and children.

The second cluster included three men and four women aged 32-50.

Nearly half were married and all were employed at the time of death.

The tragic incidents emerged as it was confirmed that the Cork town of Midleton suffers from one of Ireland's highest suicide rates, with a section of the local cemetery now grimly nicknamed "suicide row".

Midleton Town Council member Cllr Pat Buckley lost two brothers to suicide and was so appalled by the scale of local self-harm tragedies he set up the charity, Let's Get Together.

He warned that, in Cork alone, suicide was now claiming a life every four days.

Mr Buckley said that Midleton, along with Mayfield in Cork city and Kanturk in north Cork, suffered from among the highest cluster suicide rates in the world.

"In the first eight months of this year, there have been about 60 suicides in Cork city and county. That is someone taking their own life every four days in just one county," he said.

Mr Buckley lost his brothers Mark and James to suicide in 2002 and 2003.

He launched the charity in a desperate bid to highlight the escalating problem and to ensure that other families don't endure the terrible pain his family have suffered.

"The tragedy is that I believe we could see over 900 suicides in Ireland this year," Mr Buckley said.

"We set up Let's Get Together in 2004 and we don't have one cent in funding support from the Department of Health or the HSE. Everything we do, we have to fund ourselves."

"The problem is now so serious it is terrifying," he added.

* For anyone affected by this report, the Samaritans can be contacted on 1850 609090

Irish Independent

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