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5 February 2008
PN: HSSPS 01/08
Leaders of the four main Churches in Northern Ireland are due to attend the Assembly Health Committee meeting this Thursday (7th February).

The Leaders, Cardinal Sean Brady, Roman Catholic Primate and Archbishop of Armagh; Rev Roy Cooper, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland; Rev Dr John Finlay, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church and; Rev Alan Harper OBE, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, will give oral evidence to the Committee as part of its major Inquiry into the Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm in Northern Ireland. This is the first time that the Leaders have met a Committee collectively in this Assembly mandate.

Speaking about the significance of the meeting Chairperson Iris Robinson MP MLA said:

“The Committee recognises that Churches, particularly at a local level, are often the first point of contact for people bereaved by suicide and that they play a very important role in working to prevent suicide as well as supporting families in the aftermath of suicide.”

At the meeting, the Church Leaders will be asked about their role and approach, how they work with other agencies and how improvement can be made in the way the issue of suicide is dealt with at a strategic level.

The aim of the Inquiry is to examine the current approach to prevent suicide and self-harm and the Committee hopes to complete the Inquiry by the end March.

Note to Editor:

Committee Membership:
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)

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

Northern Ireland Assembly Information Office, Room B2, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX.
Tel No: 02890-521137/521396. Fax: 02890 521961.
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