Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Health, Marc MacSharry, has expressed grave concern about the Government’s ongoing failure to address the growing rate of suicide in this country.
Senator MacSharry has described as ‘inexcusable’ the Government’s failure to fill the key post of Director of the National Office for Suicide Prevention for a year. He has also said the funding provided for suicide prevention is ‘disgracefully low’ while the number of people taking their own lives in communities across Ireland remains on the increase.
“What more evidence does this government need to start taking this crisis seriously?” asked Senator MacSharry.
“We have seen 140% surge in suicides among men in this country over the past 30 years. And yet the funding for the National Office for Suicide Prevention is still half of that for the Road Safety Authority, despite the fact that far less people die on the roads than die by suicide,” said Senator MacSharry.
“The allocation of just €7 million for suicide prevention this year is disgracefully low. Preliminary figures show that 525 people died by suicide last year and it’s likely that the true figure is even greater. There is no community in the country untouched by the tragedy of suicide. It is a silent crisis that is wiping out the equivalent of a small village every year.
“It is high time that we saw some sense of urgency from the government about tackling this escalating crisis. It is inexcusable that the key post of Director of the National Office for Suicide Prevention empty for a year. I am calling on the Government to immediately fill this post and to start prioritising suicide prevention in its budget. We need one authority overseeing all agencies in suicide prevention. We need a 24 hour helpline and 24 hour access to social workers for all parts of the country.
“Fianna Fáil will shortly bring forward a policy document focussing on mental health and youth mental health in particular. At the very least, I believe that we need to provide the same sense of urgency and focus on suicide prevention as we do on road safety.”