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Ó Caoláin calls for All-Ireland measures to address suicide

21 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called for All-Ireland measures to address the issue of suicide in Irish society. He was speaking as the Health Committees of the Oireachtas and the Six-County Assembly met today in Leinster House.

He said, "I welcome this joint meeting of the two Health Committees. This is a very important occasion and I hope it will signal an ever closer working relationship.

"It is timely and appropriate that the Committees should focus on the issue of suicide, a hugely important issue for everyone on this island. In the last Dáil the Health & Children Committee published the Report 'The High Level of Suicide in Irish Society'. The Report was especially critical of the state of our mental health services. It points out that people with mental illness are known to be at greater risk of death by suicide but "the type of mental health service one can access is a matter of luck".

"The report places a special emphasis on the need to raise awareness and to put in place support and response systems within the education system. This is extremely important and is surely an area where resources can be shared and joint All-Ireland programmes undertaken. We need to explore in detail how much of this work can be done more effectively in a joint North-South approach. There should be direct and ongoing co-operation between departments in Dublin and Belfast and between our committees. We will act more effectively if we act together." ENDS

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