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First ever joint Leinster House – Assembly Health Committee meeting

19 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Carál Ní Chuilín has said that the first ever joint meeting between the Assembly Health Committee and the Leinster House Joint Committee on Health and Children in Dublin on Thursday, February 21st, as part of the Inquiry into Suicide is a welcome step in addressing this serious on an all-Ireland basis.

Speaking ahead of the joint meeting between the committees Ms Ní Chuilín said:

"Suicide is a huge issue for our communities across this island. The challenge for politicians is to work with local communities to reduce the numbers of people self-harming and dying as a result of suicide.

"The statistics for suicide make grim reading. Behind each death or person who self harms, is a family suffering immeasurable hurt and distress.

"While there has been significant progress in recent years in securing funding, as well as providing support and information, there remain many issues of concern around sustainable resources and mental health provision."In particular there are many people, including bereaved families, working in the community and voluntary sector who are worried that much of the funding allocated is not reaching those groups which are in the front line of dealing with this issue and who provide a lifeline for those at risk.

"There is also a serious problem in under-provision of psychiatric and community services for children, adolescents and young adults. We need to see a strategic shift in the Health service response to suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

"There are now also more meetings between officials about suicide prevention north and south. That is useful. But we are still far short of the concerted, integrated all-Ireland action lead by champions in government north and south.

"Targets for suicide reduction need to be set. As our colleagues in Leinster House have argued these would provide an accelerant for change. With practical and measurable steps, and proper and effective resources, we can begin to tackle this crisis and dispel the panic and fear about suicide." ENDS

Note to Editors

Draft Itinerary for Thursday 21 February

  • 9.30am Arrive at Pieta House, Lucan for presentations by Rehab Care, Pieta House & Turas Le Cheile.
  • 12.00pm Meeting with the Joint Committee on Health and Children in Leinster House.
  • 2.00pm Meeting with Minister of State Dr Jimmy Devins TD; Presentation by Geoff Day, National Office of Suicide Prevention. Briefing by Officials from the Department of Health and Children.
  • 3.30pm Meeting with Professor Kevin Malone, MD, FRCPI, FRCPsych.

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