Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo


18 February 2008
PN: HSSPS 03/08

The Assembly Health Committee will visit Dublin later this week to study the Republic of Ireland’s strategy on the prevention of suicide and self harm. The visit is part of the Health Committee Inquiry into suicide and self harm in Northern Ireland.

Chairperson of the Committee, Iris Robinson MP, said:

“Suicide is a major public health issue and a cause of immense human suffering in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Northern IrelandProtect Life strategy has taken a similar approach to the suicide strategy, entitled Reach Out, launched in the Republic in 2005. The Committee is also conscious that considerable cross-border co-operation has already taken place leading to the development of an All-Ireland Suicide Prevention Action Plan which includes joint action on training, awareness campaigns and data collection. We are keen to explore similarities in the two strategies and we want to see whether there are lessons we can learn from the experience to date in the Republic.”

“During the visit we will meet the Minister of State in the Department for Health and Children, Dr Jimmy Devins TD, who has responsibility for disability and mental health, as well as Government officials to discuss the strategy and issues of common concern. We will also meet with the Joint Committee on Health and Children in the Oireachtas.”

During the visit the Committee will pay a visit to Pieta House in Lucan, a centre which offers a specialised treatment programme on suicide and self harm and will meet other groups that work to prevent suicide and to provide support for bereaved families.

Note to 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:

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)

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.
Website Address –

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