Tuesday, 12 October 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
247. Mr. O’Connor asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will report on her endeavours to tackle the huge problem of suicide; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24396/04]
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O’Malley): My Department has given special attention in recent years to resourcing of suicide prevention initiatives. Since the publication of the report of the national task force on suicide in 1998, a cumulative total of more than €17.5 million has been provided towards suicide prevention programmes and for research. This year more than €4.5 million is available to the various agencies working towards reducing the level of suicide and attempted suicide here. This includes the health boards, the National Suicide Review Group, the Irish Association of Suicidology and the National Suicide Research Foundation.
The recently published annual report of the National Suicide Review Group, NSRG, meets the requirement of the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2001, that the Minister for Health and Children will report annually on the measures taken by health boards to prevent suicides in the previous year. This report, which was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 29 September, outlines the measures taken by the health boards and other agencies in 2003 to help prevent suicide and reduce the impact of suicidal behaviour. The aim of the report is to facilitate sharing of information across the health boards and other sectors regarding suicide prevention projects and to provide accurate and current information on the patterns of death by suicide in Ireland.
I am fully committed to the intensification of suicide prevention measures and research programmes and in this regard, work is now well under way on preparation of a strategic action plan for suicide reduction. This strategy, involving the Health Boards Executive, HeBE, in partnership with the National Suicide Review Group and supported by the Department of Health and Children will build on existing policy and on the recommendations contained in the report of the national task force on suicide. All measures aimed at reducing the number of deaths by suicide will be considered in the preparation of this strategy.
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