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Ferris welcomes study into rural suicide rates

16 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Kerry North TD Martin Ferris has welcomed a new three year study into rural suicides. Deputy Ferris expressed alarm at news that Irish suicide rates are increasing while EU rates are falling.

He said, "The fact that Ireland's suicide rates are on the rise while EU rates fall must set alarm bells ringing at the Department of Health. Suicide is one of the biggest killers of our young people and is an issue which the Government has failed miserably to live up to its responsibilities on.

"The fact that the services are not available when and where they are required is a result of continued Government under-funding and highlights the lack of urgency within the Department of Health to tackle this very serious issue. Mary Harney's miserly allocation of just €1.85million this year for suicide prevention further illustrates this point.

"Suicide rates in rural areas appear to be on the increase and I want to welcome a new three year study into rural suicides. We need to see a breakdown of suicide figures not only on a geographic basis but also on the basis of age and gender so that resources can be targeted in an appropriate manner.

"There can be no doubt that Government neglect of rural Ireland and changes in the farming and agriculture industry are having a damaging affect on the quality of live of people in rural Ireland. It will be interesting to see if this has played a role in the increase in rural suicides.

"It is essential all of these questions are answered and I hope that this new study will help with that. However, in the mean time it is imperative that the Government take this issue with the seriousness it warrants and that this is reflected with adequate funding and a role out of services.

"Sinn Féin proposes the ring-fencing of 12% of the over all health budget for mental health to guarantee that sufficient resources are available to implement an all-Ireland suicide prevention strategy. We are committed to supporting community based initiatives which are making a real impact and to further investment in clinical and community-based research on suicide prevention." ENDS

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