Posted on January 24, 2013 4:54 PM   |   Permanent Link   

Dublin Bay North Labour TD and Oireachtas Transport Committee member, Seán Kenny, has today welcomed the release of figures by the Railway Safety Commission that record the number of suicides on railway lines over the last decade.

"The Railway Safety Commission has released these figures in response to a parliamentary question that I asked of the Minister for Transport. The figures show that 96 people have died by suicide on the Republic's rail network over the past decade. The number of deaths over the years in question varies from eleven suicides in 2001 and 2004, to three in 2009.

"Last year, seven deaths by suicide were recorded on the rail network and eight suicides occurred in 2010. This is the first time that figures have been compiled showing the extent of suicide and the railways. I believe that they show there is a real need for Irish Rail to engage in a programme to reduce suicide on our railway lines.

"At present a programme has been undertaken in Northern Ireland, between Translink who operate the Northern Irish railway system and the Samaritans. Such a programme has already been undertaken in the UK and results in preventing people from taking their own lives on railway lines have been very positive.

"The programme in the UK saw the rate of suicide on railways drop by 11% in the first year of the programme. Other railway providers in the UK have now been looking at this programme as a way of reducing suicide on railways as well and Translink are one of these. The programme features a programme of suicide prevention and activities that occur after an incident takes place, including counselling of railway staff and witnesses who may have seen what occurred.

"In providing these figures the Railway Safety Commission has highlighted the fact that the Irish Rail network is an open system and anyone purchasing a ticket can enter a railway station through the ticket barriers. It is time that Irish Rail considers a programme like the one in the UK, both in terms of suicide prevention and a programme to help staff, in conjunction with a group like the Samaritans. I also call on Irish Rail to make public the procedures they have in place at present. I think the numbers of people ending their life on Irish railways justifies this. Suicide is a tragic and preventable loss of life that has an absolutely devastating effect on the family and friends of the victim, and the train drivers, railway staff and the witnesses that experience it."

Note to Editors:
RSC figures as released to Deputy Seán Kenny on January 24th 2013.

Year Suicides

2000 9
2001 11
2002 9
2003 10
2004 11
2005 8
2006 7
2007 5
2008 8
2009 3
2010 8
2011 7

Total 96