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All-Ireland strategic action required to prevent suicide - Adams

8 September, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, West Belfast MP, has today welcomed the launch of a campaign today by the Children's Commissioner in north of Ireland on the problem of suicide and self-harm. The Sinn Féin President attended the launch at the office of the Children's Commissioner.

Mr Adams said:

"Sinn Féin believes that the Children's Commissioner in the north and the Ombudsman for Children in Dublin, working together, can make a significant contribution to the development of an all-Ireland strategy for suicide prevention.

"Government statistics for the north which I have recently obtained show that the number of people who have taken their own lives over the last 35 years by suicide, exceeds the number of people killed during those years of conflict. When taken with available statistics in the south, these combined figures prove Sinn Fein assertion that suicide is one of the greatest national disasters facing Irish society today."

"Sinn Fein has proposed the development and implementation of a community-based, fully resourced, regional suicide prevention strategy for the north of Ireland. We have also proposed that both governments make suicide prevention an area of co-operation on an all-Ireland basis, and in this way promote a strategic approach to suicide prevention across the island."

"The Irish government is today launching a 10 year strategy on suicide prevention and the British government is committed to producing a strategy position in the next 2 months for the six counties. Both of these efforts have emerged only after intense lobbying by relatives and campaign groups and will be judged on their merits, especially their ability to deal with this issue in a holistic way. In particular, we will examine closely whether the necessary resources are made available and how this strategy is likely to impact on suicide prevention across the entire island." ENDS

Note to Editor

Sinn Fein participated in a conference the Children's Commissioner held earlier this year about young people and their experience of suicide and self-harm. Then in March 05, a Sinn Fein delegation met with the office of the Children's Commissioner, Nigel Williams, to discuss the party's proposals in relation to suicide prevention.

In May 05, Gerry Adams wrote to the Children's Commissioner again and asked him to meet with his counterpart in Dublin, Emily Logue, Ombudsman for Children, and develop a joint, all Ireland approach to advocacy for children and young people on the issue of suicide. The response from both Williams and Logue was positive.

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