Munster has some of the highest rates of suicide, according to the latest figures published by the National Office for Suicide Prevention.
Provisional data contained in the NOSP’s latest annual report shows Limerick City, Cork City, Kerry, and Wexford recorded the highest suicide rates over the period 2011-2013.
The highest rate in the State was in Limerick City, where there were 21.1 deaths per 100,000 population — almost twice the national average of 11.4 deaths per 100,000.
Kerry has the second- highest rate at 19.7 deaths, followed by Wexford (19.4) and Cork City (16).
Rates are calculated on a three-year moving average to smooth out short-term fluctuations and highlight longer-term trends or cycles.
At the other end of the scale, the lowest suicide rate in the 2011-2013 period was in the Fingal local authority area with 5.4 deaths per 100,000 population — half the national average.
Other areas with below-average rates include Donegal, Tipperary North, Dun Laoghaire, South Dublin, Meath, Wicklow, and Waterford City.
At 15.4 deaths per 100,000 population, the suicide rate in the area of Dublin City Council is considerably higher that other local authority areas in the capital.
The NOSP’s 2014 annual report said the provisional figures for suicide rates in 2013 and 2014 indicated a further decreasing trend evident since 2011, after they had shown a steady rise since 2007. It shows there were 541 deaths by suicide in 2012, falling to 475 in 2013 and 459 last year.
However, the NOSP said the pattern should be interpreted with caution as data for the last two years is still provisional. The annual number of deaths by suicide in the Republic peaked in 2011 with 554. On average males account for four out of five deaths by suicide.
“Ireland’s suicide rate is not high by European comparison. However, suicide rates among young males and females are high,” said NOSP director Gerry Raleigh.
He said the suicide rate among both males and females aged 15-19 years was 10.5 per 100,000 population — the fourth-highest of 31 European countries.
Mr Raleigh said he believed Ireland could achieve the World Health Organisation’s global target of reducing the suicide rate by 10% by 2020.
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