22 February 2008
‘‘Cross Border co-operation in creating awareness of suicide reaffirmed at meeting.’’
Mrs Iris Robinson MP MLA, Chairperson of the Assembly Health Committee spoke today (Thursday February 21) following a wide ranging and very productive meeting with Dr Jimmy Devins, T.D., Minister for Disability and Mental Health.
Ms Robinson said:
‘‘Suicide is an issue of great importance on both sides of the border and the visit today to Dublin by the Assembly Health Committee has allowed us to explore common ways of dealing with the issue. The meeting with Minister Devins and his officials has been a fruitful exercise. The Committee earlier had a valuable meeting with the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children. The importance of community involvement is vital in tackling suicide and we were particularly pleased to visit Pieta House in Lucan which is an excellent model of intervention.’’
Minister Devins said he:
“Acknowledged the importance and value of adopting an all island approach in creating awareness of suicide and collaborating in the area of suicide prevention”.
“a concerted approach is needed if we are to prevent the further tragic loss of life”.
Minister Devins continued:
‘‘Suicidal behaviours do not recognise borders, political or geographical. Reducing suicide rates requires a collective effort. Formal commitment has been made in the development of all island collaboration in this area. There is reciprocal north-south membership on the respective implementation groups for the strategies in Northern Ireland Protect Life – A Shared Vision and in the Republic of Ireland Reach Out. An All Island Action Plan for Suicide Prevention has been developed. Implementation of this plan is on-going and significant progress has been made to date on a number of action areas including the development of a Joint Awareness Campaign.’’
During the meeting it was acknowledged that a significant degree of cooperation exists on suicide prevention but that there is scope for development of the existing plan. These views were echoed by the Director of the National Office for Suicide Prevention Geoff Day who said that he looked forward to the findings of the inquiry.
NOTE FOR EDITOR
The Terms of Reference for the Committee Inquiry are:
“The Committee will undertake an inquiry to examine the current strategic approach to the prevention of suicide and self harm. In particular the Committee will:
- assess the scope and appropriateness of the Department’s strategy ‘Protect Life: A Shared Vision’;
- examine the level of stakeholder involvement;
- examine the level of services and support available to promote good mental health, to prevent suicide and self harm; and to support those affected by suicide; and
- consider what further action is required, taking account, as appropriate, of experience elsewhere.
Mrs Iris Robinson MP (DUP) (Chairperson); Ms Michelle O’Neill (SF) (Deputy Chairperson); Mr Thomas Buchanan (DUP); Rev Dr Robert Coulter (UUP); Dr Kieran Deeny (IHC); Mr Alex Easton (DUP); Mr Tommy Gallagher (SDLP); Mrs Carmel Hanna (SDLP); Mr John McCallister (UUP); Ms Carál Ní Chuilín (SF); Ms Sue Ramsey (SF)
Media Enquiries to:
Sinead Lee , Northern Ireland Assembly Information Office, Room B2, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX.
Tel No: 02890-521137/521396. Fax: 02890 521961.
The Clerk to the Committee is Mr Hugh Farren, Room 412, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX.
Tel No: 028 90521360 Fax No: 028 90521667
Members of the Assembly Health Committee pictured with members of the Joint Committee on Health and Children in the Oireachtas and Minister of State in the Department for Health and Children, Dr Jimmy Devins TD, during the Committees’ visit to Dublin to study the Republic of Ireland’s strategy on the prevention of suicide and self harm.
Iris Robinson MP MLA, Chairperson of the Assembly Committee for Health and Michelle O’Neill MLA, Vice Chair, pictured with Minister of State in the Department for Health and Children, Dr Jimmy Devins TD, during the Committees’ visit to Dublin to study the Republic of Ireland’s strategy on the prevention of suicide and self harm.