Tuesday, 23 November 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
199. Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the vital work being done by organisations such as Living Links; the financial support or otherwise provided to the organisation over the past five years either nationally or to any north Tipperary branch of the organisation; the funding that has been provided to similar suicide bereavement and counselling organisations servicing north Tipperary; and if she will provide additional financial and other resources to the work of Living Links in valuable bereavement support that it provides across the country. [30221/04]
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O’Malley): I am aware of the work of the organisation referred to by the Deputy. I am informed that the Mid-Western Health Board provides support and funding for key bereavement support initiatives in north Tipperary. This includes the Living Links organisation and Suicide Understanding and Support, or SUAS, which provide support for those bereaved by suicide. The Mid-Western Health Board provided €5,000 to the Living Links organisation in 2003 and a further €10,000 was provided this year. Funding of €3,000 was provided to SUAS this year. The provision of additional funding and resources for these organisations is a matter for the Mid-Western Health Board.
200. Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to a letter (details supplied) sent to her office on 31 October 2004; if her attention has further been drawn to the crisis of youth suicide that is facing the country; her views on the fact that a co-ordinated effort based on the principle of early intervention involving her Department, the National Children’s Office and the Department of Education and Science is needed to tackle this huge and sensitive issue facing young people; her proposals for dealing with the crisis of youth suicide that faces parents and young people today; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30222/04]
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O’Malley): I am aware of the correspondence referred to by the Deputy. It is acknowledged that the issue of suicide prevention, especially among young people, requires action in a number of different areas and across a broad range of services and Departments. The issue will be addressed in the context of the preparation of the strategic action plan for suicide reduction which is currently underway. The strategy, which involves the Health Boards Executive in partnership with the national suicide review group supported by the Department of Health and Children, will be based on extensive national and international consultation and evidence based research. It will build on existing policy and the recommendations contained in the 1998 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 which will be completed in 2005.
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