Coroner urges controls on websites giving information on suicide

Sat, Oct 6, 2012, 01:00

A CORONER has called for controls over websites operating in Ireland that give information on suicide methods.

Coroner John Cannon’s comments came as he heard the inquests into the suicides of three people in Co Donegal that occurred just weeks apart.

Mr Cannon said people could no longer bury their heads in the sand on the issue of suicide and self-harm.

He had researched the topic of suicide information and it made him “so angry” that people were being “goaded to harm themselves or commit suicide”.

“I don’t know the answer, but it makes me so angry,” he said.

“I can’t over-emphasise it but it is there. It is real and there is no point burying our heads in the sand.” There should be controls on such websites that target people who are “low and in the ebb of depression”.

Mr Cannon said new findings showed there was a high level of suicide in Donegal and Cork. He also highlighted his concerns over the growing issue of depression. It crossed many age ranges, he said. “Horrible episodes of depression” appeared to be “prevalent in young people”.

The inquests heard details of the deaths of two students in their early 20s and also the death of a 51-year-old man. The deaths occurred in December and January last. There was no suggestion that any of the three people involved had consulted suicide websites.

“This depression seems very difficult to understand,” said Mr Cannon.

A spokesperson for the HSE said people in distress should avoid such websites and be aware that help was available.