THREE life-saving groups in Limerick City have joined forces to convince the local authority to provide them with a base from where they can help reduce a suicide rate that is the highest in Ireland.
Representatives of Haven Hub, Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention (LTSP) and Limerick Land Search and Rescue met with officials from Limerick City and County Council last Tuesday to help them secure a joint base in a city centre location near the River Shannon.
Haven Hub founder Leona O’Callaghan, said the meeting could be a turning point in the battle to tackle the city’s escalating suicide problem.
“If this is successful, it could turn us from the point where we are leading in suicide numbers, to leading the way when it comes to suicide prevention”.
She said that for the groups to be able to deliver their services, which range from suicide prevention to search and rescue, they need a suitable permanent base.
And the fact they are willing to work together makes that possibility much more likely as the council wouldn’t be able to facilitate different buildings for each individual group.
Limerick Land Search and Rescue chairman Calvin Prendergast said that although they had been operating for nine years, the only ever had one small room which they used to store equipment.
“Even that room wasn’t suitable because it was damp. As a result, life-saving equipment was damaged and had to be thrown out,” Mr Prendergast explained.
“At the minute, we are working out of our jeep. A new base would mean we would be able to expand our operations tenfold,” he added.
Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention Group chairman Matt Collins said the meeting was positive as it got the three groups to sit down at one table.
However, following this council meeting and two trips to the Dáil, he said he was frustrated with the lack of action.
“This is a chance to actually keep people alive, they need to see the importance of that. While we are busy talking, people are dying,” he said.
“Families are losing their children, children are losing mothers and fathers, we’re losing friends. This can’t keep going on,” Mr Collins added.
All three groups intend to continue talks with council officials and local representatives in the hope that plans for a joint city centre base will come to fruition without delay.