Defunct Stormont ‘frustrating’ as suicide plan blocked – priest

Defunct Stormont ‘frustrating’ as suicide plan blocked – priest Fr Cathal Deery

Despite ongoing deadlock in Stormont blocking a new suicide prevention plan, a specialist priest has said anyone “who is struggling” will be supported.

Fermanagh-based Fr Cathal Deery, who trains clergy and chaplains in dealing with suicide, admitted it is “frustrating” that the Protect Life 2 strategy could not be implemented as it needs to be signed off by a health minister.

“Those who make decisions, those who implement policy, will always be under pressure so of course there will be frustration if there is not any progress made in implementing a protect life strategy to help those who are working in the area of suicide awareness/prevention to help those in crisis,” he said.

However he said that “anybody who is struggling will still be supported and will receive help”.

The inability to enact the strategy “doesn’t negate” the good works of charities working to prevent suicide, he said.

Fr Cathal founded the The Living with Suicide Day Retreat, coming up on Saturday, September 29, in Lough Derg, which allows people affected by suicide to get support “in a safe environment”.

With the North of Ireland having the highest rate of suicide in the UK, he described it as a “crisis” and said “suicide crosses all boundaries and it can happen at any time”.