Ó Snodaigh calls for suicide authority
Sinn Féin TD says suicide rate a national crisis
Aengus Ó Snodaigh:“Every town, village and community and virtually every family has been affected by this tragic crisis.’’
One Irish child under 18 years died by suicide every 18 days, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh told the Dáil.
“Moreover, the State has the fourth highest youth suicide rate in Europe and the figure is increasing,’’ he added.
“Despite this, the appropriate services do not appear to be available when required.’’
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney agreed there had been gross underfunding of mental health services in the past.“Until recently, there was a significant deficit in terms of funding and expenditure in this area,’’ he said.
Mr Coveney, who was standing in for Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Opposition leaders’ questions, said the programme for government included a commitment to a special additional allocation to mental health services of €35 million last year and this year, respectively. This was primarily to strengthen community health teams in adult and child mental health services and further develop suicide prevention initiatives.
Mr Coveney said the majority of the recommendations of ReachOut, the national plan of action on suicide prevention, had been implemented. Minister of State for Health Alex White would shortly bring proposals to Government on alcohol abuse, which was frequently linked to mental health issues and suicide.
Mr Ó Snodaigh said that last month Cork City Council had become the first council to support a motion seeking the establishment of an all-Ireland national suicide authority.
The impact of suicide across the island was dreadful, he added. In 2011 alone, more than 1,000 citizens died as a consequence of suicide.
“Every town, village and community and virtually every family has been affected by this tragic crisis,’’ Mr O Snodaigh added. He said there was a need for an emergency national response. He spoke about a young girl who recently spent four days in A&E before being transferred to adult psychiatric services.