Role of alcohol in suicide must spur Cabinet to action

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Labour TD Robert Dowds has said that Minister for Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch, really put it up to the Cabinet to introduce tough legislation to discourage the use of alcohol when she said that alcohol had an enormous effect on suicide and self-harm.


“According to the National Office for Suicide Prevention report, which was launched by Minister Lynch yesterday, 38% of self-harm episodes involved alcohol and 51% of people who committed suicide had abused drugs and/or alcohol in the year leading up to their death.

“The suicide statistics released yesterday are particularly startling where young people are concerned.   The suicide rate for 15-24 year olds is 15.4 per 100,000 people, placing Ireland fourth highest among EU countries – in contrast to Greece, of all places, which is the lowest at 1.6 per 100,000.

“The suicide rate in Ireland among the general population is lower, at 11.8 per 100,000.   However, this is still an increase from 9.2 per 100,000 in 2009.

“It is tragic that so many men in particular take their own lives – in 2010, for example, 405 of the 495 people who committed suicide were male.     This has to be a wake-up call.

“We must urgently address this situation through setting minimum prices on alcohol, restricting off-sales and limiting advertising, including alcohol-related sponsorship.

“While none of these measures in themselves would fully tackle the unholy relationship between alcohol and self-harm and suicide, they would help a great deal.”