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Action on Suicide Prevention Strategy must be made a priority - Adams

26 June, 2005

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Gerry Adams has said that the development of a suicide prevention strategy across Ireland must be made a priority by both governments. Speaking ahead of an event hosted by Sinn Fein to launch the campaign for a suicide prevention strategy tomorrow in the Long Gallery in Stormont, Mr Adams said:

"There is a lot of anger within the community at the failure of the Health system to respond to the in a coherent and holistic fashion.

"Last autumn we met the then Minister for Health and pressed her for action on suicide prevention. Last week, we met with the new direct rule Minister for Health to reiterate that suicide prevention must be made a priority. We are still awaiting a meeting with the Tanaiste and Minister for Health in Dublin to make the same submissions to her.

"Last week, the new direct rule Minister for Health told us that he accepts that this issue must be a priority issue for the Health Service. He has planned a conference for August. He has also committed to coming back to us at a further meeting in November with a strategy on suicide prevention. We have heard this before.

"This time must be different. This time we want delivery. Delivery on past promises made and delivery on the strategies, policies, resources, funding and campaigns to confront the growing and serious issue suicide and self-harm.

"In the short term we need the obvious gaps in the system filled and the budget allocation to mental health services must be substantially increased. Community groups are in the front line of dealing with those at risk and providing support for families. These groups need the resources to allow them to fulfil this crucial role. And in the next few months we need to see the production and implementation of a suicide prevention strategy, on an all-Ireland basis, which begins the urgent work of getting to grips with this issue." ENDS

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