Nearly 500 people have attempted suicide in the River Shannon in Limerick City in the past five years, new figures reveal.
The statistics have been described as an indictment of the country’s mental health system, which Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín has called “a disaster”.
A total of 493 incidents have been recorded in the Garda PULSE system between 2017 and 2021 involving ‘individual misadventures’ in Shannon in the vicinity of Limerick’s Henry Street and Roxboro.
The incidents, which involved people entering or attempting to enter the Shannon, also spanned subcategories of the system including ‘suicide’, ‘suicide (attempted only)’, ‘detained under the Mental Health Act”, and “missing person high-risk”.
The data shows that an average of almost two people each week attempted to enter the Shannon in Limerick with the intention of taking their own life over the five-year period.
However, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys suggested that the actual number of suicide attempts could be even higher. In response to a parliamentary question from Mr. Tóibín, she said that more major accidents may have been recorded in separate categories.
The Aontu leader described the statistics as “harsh” and said his thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones in the River Shannon.
“There can be no doubt that these figures would be much higher was it not for the great work of the Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention Team, who Aontú had the pleasure of welcoming to Leinster House in recent months,” he said, reports The Mirror.
A total of 139 incidents where people entered or attempted to enter the Shannon in relevant categories were recorded in the Limerick gardaí in 2017. The figure dropped to 87 the following year and 89 occurred in 2019.
About 95 of these incidents were registered in 2020, 83 in 2021, and another 67 cases have occurred to date this year, according to the statistics.
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