Monday, January 28, 2013

Charity offers to subsidise independent audit of suicides

A suicide prevention charity is publicly offering to subsidise an independent audit of suicides in Ireland but so far its offer has not been taken up by the authorities.

If the Government does not take up the offer, 3TS (Turn the Tide on Suicide) chairman Noel Smyth said it planned to liaise with other suicide-prevention charities to fund the audit.

It would examine what services the country had and what services it needed. 

If the State agencies are not interested, Mr Smyth said he would invite other organisations such as Pieta House, Aware and the Samaritans to contribute.

According to Mr Smyth, who is offering to pay 50 per cent of the audit, 3TS was in contact with three officials from the previous government in relation to the offer, but never received a solid answer.

In October Mr Smyth was in contact with Minister of State for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch, who said the Government could not fund the audit.

A spokesman for the Department of Health did not say whether the offer was declined, but said other organisations were involved in suicide documentation.

Mr Smyth said this was not good enough, as reports issued by Government agencies are not fully independent.

“If you’re going to do an audit, you have to make sure it is independent,” he said.

He expressed dissatisfaction with reports issued by the National Office for Suicide Prevention, operated by the HSE.

However, a spokeswoman for the HSE said the office brought together and funded a wide range of agencies working in the area of suicide prevention, from both the statutory and non-statutory sectors, to deliver programmes and services around the country.

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