Wednesday 13 December 2017

Tragic deaths spark surge in donations and calls to charities

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Suicide charities have reported soaring contacts and donations in the wake of the deaths of junior minister Shane McEntee and the Gallagher sisters in Donegal.

One charity revealed to the Irish Independent its donations had jumped by 50pc in the wake of the Meath TD's death. Another said pleas for help to it had increased by 30pc in the wake of the McEntee tragedy and the publicity surrounding the suicides of Donegal sisters, Erin (13) and Shannon (15) Gallagher (pictured).

Pieta House, which is rapidly expanding its counselling and support services, revealed its level of contacts had risen by 30pc-plus in the wake of the tragedies. "Our level of contacts has increased substantially on the same time last year," Pieta official Marguerite Kiely said.

Another charity, Let's Get Together (LGT), confirmed that its donations increased by 50pc in the wake of the McEntee tragedy.

"We are entirely dependent on donations and they literally took off for the last two weeks in December. I believe it is directly linked to the tragedies in Meath and Donegal," LGT founder, Pat Buckley, said.

LGT spends almost €80,000 a year on support and suicide prevention services.

The Samaritans said it was dealing with a record number of contacts with "a real hardening of despair among many of those who contact us; people are struggling to cope in the face of uncertainty around employment, personal debt and other financial concerns."

Over 15pc of calls received by The Samaritans are related to Ireland's economic crisis.

St Vincent de Paul (SVP) confirmed that its pleas for help reached record levels in December – with the charity also admitting that its level of referrals to specialised support groups also increased.

Statistics indicated that three people are now taking their lives each day in Ireland.

One suicide helpline, ILife, revealed that it was struggling to cope with 99 contacts a day amounting to over 33,000 pleas for help each year.

And anecdotal evidence has indicated that Ireland will suffer close to 1,000 suicides in 2012.

Ireland officially recorded some 527 suicides in 2009, meaning that suicides levels have almost doubled during the recession.

Irish Independent

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