A Donegal coroner has said “humanity is being totally overlooked” as the State fails to address the issue of the increase in suicide deaths.
John Cannon was speaking after hearing the harrowing details of two suicide deaths at Letterkenny Coroner’s Court on Thursday.
The first inquest heard by the coroner was that of a middle-aged man who took his own life, and the second, a man in his early 20s.
“Too often I deal with inquests of this nature and hearing the two today, it goes to show that depression does not just affect the young, but a wide spectrum of ages.
“Too often I have to face the families of unexpected suicide deaths and there seems to be very little emphasis being put on these, as opposed to road traffic deaths.”
Mr Cannon noted that deaths by suicide have “almost equalled and sometimes surpassed” deaths as a result of road traffic accidents.
“I do not understand why government officials don’t put more emphasis on suicide deaths when coroners around the country are stating that this is a growing epidemic.”
The coroner said that “doom and gloom times” and austerity were not helping matters. “In one case we heard today, we were told that perhaps the young man would be alive today had he been in employment. We heard he was even making an effort himself, doing courses and exercising, but there was no future for him.”
Mr Cannon said the only organ of the Oireachtas dealing with the issue of the increasing number of suicides was the office of the president.
“The President has said there is too much emphasis being put on balancing the books and austerity, but there will be very little benefit to see a future of utopia if all our young people are abroad or more die by suicide. Humanity is totally being overlooked.”
The coroner extended his condolences to the families of the deceased men, while Sgt Martin Rochfort, also extended condolences on behalf of An Garda Síochána and echoed Mr Cannon’s sentiments, saying the two cases were a “poor reflection of Ireland in 2013”.