Coroner finds alcohol in 48% of suicides

A STUDY by Louth county coroner has found that nearly half of all road deaths or those who committed suicide in the county over the last six years had consumed alcohol.

In one year alone, two thirds of all drivers killed in road accidents were over the legal limit.

The study by the coroner Ronan Maguire was based on an examination of inquests he has held over the last six years.

In relation to road deaths, 125 people were killed in Co Louth over the period. Of these, 93 were men including eight drivers over the age of 70, while 32 were women. Just over 45% had consumed alcohol.

Forty-seven people killed themselves during the period, 42 of them men. Forty-eight percent had consumed alcohol.

Thirty-eight people died in Co Louth from drug or alcohol overdoses, 23 men and 15 women.

Mr Maguire’s study also revealed that fatal car accidents in the county have dropped dramatically. In 2000, 32 were killed on the roads in Co Louth. Last year that was 19. In 2002, the worst on record for fatalities, two-thirds of drivers killed were over the legal blood alcohol limit. The majority were in the 21-40 age group.

This is in contrast to the trend nationally. The number of road deaths nationwide is up five on the same time last year. Fourteen people have died on Irish roads in 2006. The figure at the same time last year was nine. Half of those killed this year were pedestrians.

Of the 47 people who took their own lives, five were under the age of 20, and 13 were over 50.

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