Suicide prevention services warned of funding cuts

Suicide prevention and support services have been told to expect funding cuts for a third year in a row, it was revealed today.

Despite Government commitments to increase spending in the area by €1m to €5.5m, charities said they have been warned budgets will be hit again in January.

Console, a leading counselling charity, said it will struggle to cope with more than 150 at risk people already on waiting lists for support.

“People’s lives are at stake. We have been told already we are to be cut again,” founder Paul Kelly said.

“The reality is that we have to respond as quickly as possible to our calls. I know that we are dealing with critical, real life and death situations.

“We are fearful we can’t maintain our level of service. It’s going to be impossible if funding is constantly cut. It’s inevitable the service will suffer.”

Console’s budget was cut by 12.5% in 2009 and 6.5% this year. It is estimated funding could fall by another 4% in January.

Mr Kelly also hit out at the funding differences between road safety and suicide prevention with the Road Safety Authority working from a 40m euro budget.

“You can see the impact that €40m has had reducing road deaths. And if they are only willing to give €5m to suicide prevention that’s abysmal. We should be up in arms about it,” he said.

Official figures published in the summer show a record 527 people killed themselves last year, a 24%t increase on 2008.

Despite the charity’s claim, the Health Service Executive insisted budgets for next year have not been decided.

Console, which offers counselling to thousands of people every week, is expecting hundreds of people bereaved by suicide to attend its conference on Friday to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

Mr Kelly warned the state of the economy was a massive source of anxiety.

“We get people phoning our helpline who are impacted by the downturn. People in debt, being made redundant, fear of repossession and then marital strain,” he said.

The group, which raises almost three quarters of its budget through charity, also held a remembrance walk in the Phoenix Park with friends and relatives of those who lost loved ones by suicide.

More in this Section

Legal loophole for 70,000 drivers disqualified since 2012Legal loophole for 70,000 drivers disqualified since 2012

23-year-old man arrested following armed robbery in Cork city23-year-old man arrested following armed robbery in Cork city

Shooting the darkness: The Troubles in picturesShooting the darkness: The Troubles in pictures

Gardaí believe boy (16) was returning home from house party when struck by vehicleGardaí believe boy (16) was returning home from house party when struck by vehicle


About 70% of our planet is covered in water, in one form or another and it is vital to our survival.Appliance of science: Where does water come from?

Touched by the last rays of the sun, the grey mud of the estuary is dimpled with silver pools. Above them, rooks fly in their thousands, rooks uncountable, on different levels of the air.Interplay of rooks above Cillmanister a lovely mystery

A NEW survey confirms the presence of at least six rare spiders in Killarney National Park.Six rare spiders found in Killarney National Park

IT WAS written about an old ruin in Co Wexford but it may as well have been written for any other place.Islands of Ireland: Cows come home to Inishbarra

More From The Irish Examiner