Cyclists turn out to raise awareness of tragic suicide ‘epidemic’

Problem is much bigger than people realise, says bereaved restaurateur Derry Clarke

At the start of the Console cycle from Grand Canal Dock today were, from left, restaurateur Peter Caviston, Eamon Coghlan, Pat Kenny and Derry Clarke. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

At the start of the Console cycle from Grand Canal Dock today were, from left, restaurateur Peter Caviston, Eamon Coghlan, Pat Kenny and Derry Clarke. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Sun, Apr 21, 2013, 21:14

More than 100 cyclists including broadcaster Pat Kenny and Senators Eamon Coghlan and John Whelan took part in a charity cycle to raise funds for suicide prevention charity Console.

Last year the cycle, which takes place from the Grand Canal Dock in Dublin to the 12th lock at Lucan, raised almost €7,000 for Console. The charity hopes to surpass that figure this year.

Among those present to see the cyclists off was restaurateur Derry Clarke, whose son Andrew took his own life late last year.

Mr Clarke participated in last year’s cycle before the death of his son and would have participated this year but for an injury.

He said: “I didn’t realise how big suicide is in Ireland until Andrew passed away. The amount of support we got is incredible. The amount of families affected shows how serious it is.”

Suicide awareness

Mr Clarke said there should be more awareness of suicide in television and radio campaigns, in the same way that there is around road fatalities.

“I would say to anybody contemplating suicide to think of the devastation that they leave behind them. If you could see the future, and what you left behind, people wouldn’t do it,” he explained.

“Of all the people I would have known to take their own lives, Andrew would be last on the list. He never had depression before.”

Pat Kenny said he wanted to support Console because Ireland was in the middle of an “epidemic of people taking their own lives”.

“Stand back from it from a moment and wonder how anybody could logically think that their classmates or work colleagues would be better off without them. It is palpably not true,” he said.

“They have reached a place where they can’t see the truth of the situation. On radio and television we try to get that message across. Anything like this that can highlight the issue is something that I have to support.”

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