Dire situation as 16 volunteers patrol River Shannon at Limerick to attempt to stop suicides


On Sunday evening, May 19 the CSR Suicide Prevention saved two lives via volunteers who regularly patrol to rescue suicide jumpers. CSR volunteer Michael Mulholland rescued a young male student after receiving a tip off earlier from a concerned reveller. Two volunteers later rescued a young girl who was considering suicide after her pal had committed suicide a month earlier.

During the last eight months, the CSR Suicide Prevention Team has been patrolling the River Shannon and four bridges in Limerick to rescue people who would otherwise attempt to throw themselves off. The volunteers patrol every Saturday from midnight to 5am and have now started patrolling on weeknights. They have met as many as four people contemplating suicide on some nights and have had to physically restrain some people from jumping.

Paul Hogan of the CSR Suicide Prevention told the Sun, “The people we meet are from all walks of life and are all ages, from 16 to 70.” He added, “There are people who have lost their business or their job, and there are those who have broken up with their boyfriends or their marriage has ended.”

A new study carried out by Prof Kevin Malone of University College Dublin’s school of medicine and St. Vincent’s Hospital found that alcohol, mental illness, and bullying all contribute to suicide amongst young people. Of the 104 people involved in the study who committed suicide, almost two thirds had been diagnosed with a mental illness and 51 had abused alcohol within a year of their death.

The study, which involved interviews with suicide victims’ families, found that victims had problems with health services or the police. Some were turned away from hospital emergency departments without being admitted for treatment and some family members commented that the police did not seem trained to handle situations after a suicide. 

The CSR Suicide Prevention aims to help these people before they become victims. Hogan said, “We see ourselves as the eyes of the river- and we believe there is a need for this in every town in Ireland.” Over Christmas in 2011, 12 people jumped in Limerick City, but thanks to the patrols only one person did during the same time in 2012.

Team members of the CSR Suicide Prevention are trained how to speak to people who are suicidal and they wear a flotation suit with a lifejacket in case they have to enter the water. They also carry a flotation bag with a rope and float, which can be used to rescue those in the water.

It costs $450 to equip a team member and the CSR is looking for funding to add new members. To learn more, visit CSR Suicide Prevention Limerick on facebook.