Founding member of suicide alliance pulls out

THE founding member of a coalition of suicide charities, the Action on Suicide Alliance, has pulled out of the organisation claiming it now lacks independence and cannot criticise its state funders.

Question marks now hang over the future of the group, set up by the 3Ts charity (Turning the Tide of Suicide), to force the Government to implement recommendations of several expert reports on suicide prevention.

It is understood another of the reasons behind the decision of the 3Ts, co-founded by businessman Noel Smyth, is that it wants a suicide authority similar to the Road Safety Authority to be set up, but the HSE’s National Office of Suicide Prevention (NOSP) does not agree with this.

The Irish Examiner has learned that some within the alliance (members include Amnesty International, Console, SpunOut, Shine and Suicide or Survive) feel it will be seriously weakened without the 3Ts’ independent voice.

“Many of us have NOSP funding and Government departments are particularly hostile towards advocacy and campaigning,” one member wrote.

“This makes many of the organisations and relationships very vulnerable, and in some ways unable or unwilling to speak out.”

Documents obtained by the Irish Examiner reveal the breakdown of relations between the 3Ts and the NOSP, and how the HSE’s intention to review funding for the suicide groups contributed to the split.

In a statement to the Irish Examiner, the 3Ts confirmed that it has officially withdrawn from the group.

The HSE confirmed it is funding the Irish Association of Suicidology (IAS), to undertake some “preliminary work” to develop an accreditation model for voluntary or community organisations working in the suicide prevention sector.

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