The old Irish solution
There is an appalling rate of suicide in Ireland.
The victims in general fall into two categories – young males and elderly males.
The reasons for suicide are many but I would contend that there are two main causes – loneliness and hopelessness.
In the middle of the last decade, suicide rates amongst the elderly in the rural parts of Ireland saw a frightening increase. This was as predictable as the sunrise. Elderly bachelors and widowers relied on the local pub as a meeting place, where they had a chance to socialise and have a pint, a smoke and a chat. But then the Nanny State stepped in and not only banned smoking but restricted drinking to a level where our elderly were condemned to sit at home in isolation.
At last someone is doing something about this. The Healy Raes are proposing an exemption in rural areas. Much as I dislike the Healy Raes, they at least recognise that the problem exists. Naturally the Puritans are wringing their hands in anguish and screaming that this is bringing Ireland back into the Dark Ages and are predicting carnage on the roads. “Let them drink tea” they cry. “Let the Puritans try living on their own in an isolated rural area” I cry. Fuck them.
Even if they get their exemptions they are still forced outside for a smoke. Hardly an ideal place to spend an evening at this time of year if you are elderly? But then who cares about the elderly lust so long as we are “sending out the right message” about smoking?
Towards the end of the decade, the suicide rate amongst the young started to soar. I can’t say I blame ‘em. Unemployment shot up and the only reason it has declined very slightly is because so many are emigrating. Because the only prospect for the youth of today is unemployment or emigration. The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Quite honestly if I were young and just starting out I would be tempted to top myself – what does the future hold for me? The gubmint just keeps waffling on about “green shoots” and how “the recession is over” but they still continue to bleed the country dry leaving no hope of recovery for years to come. The youth of today have been consigned to the bin in the name of “fiscal rectitude” and our “reputation abroad”. Fat lot of fuck good a reputation is to an unemployed graduate?
Of course, there is a “Report”.
Isn’t there always a fucking “Report”?
The Report suggests that the best way to tackle suicide is to remove the means.
Christ on a fucking bike!
The best they can suggest is to try to remove the means of committing suicide? There is nothing there about tackling the root causes. No mention of how the country should put the people before German banks? No suggestion that giving people real hope might stop them wanting to off themselves? No suggestions about some form of counselling?
We must fence off high areas. We must limit access to pesticides and painkillers. We must make gas non-toxic. Maybe there is some way of banning anything that could be tied in a knot?
It is just typical of this Godforsaken land that whenever there is a problem then the solution has to lie in laws and restrictions.
I give up.
Pass me the carving knife.
Iv noticed the change in my own relatives whenever I call Ireland they seem to have given up. On another point did you see that gobshite Ahern now says he is going to take his full pension, give the pr*** his pension when he's 95.
There is a general air of resignation and depression here all right. The gubmint keeps trying to jolly us up with "good news" that just isn't there. People don't believe any of their crap any more.
As for Ahern – I heard tell that the little cunt has gone into business with some known tax evader, selling solar panels in Italy!
I just wish they'd leave us alone! I agree, our elderly people are forced into isolation with the nanny rules, chuck them or make a spot for them ffs.
How is that every time they try to improve something they always end up making it ten times worse?
I just posted a picture and there it isn't – Gone !!
Not at all offensive – it was this Martyn Turner cartoon
which I thought was relevant to this post.
Relevant and right on the nail.
On the up side Dame Enda is hosting an Irish/ EU Presidency.
That is just adding insult to injury.
Yeah, the means of committing suicide is the real problem The river Shannon has being the local hot spot for jumping since I was a gosson. We need to drain it or cover it over and the problem will be solved.
They're going to have fun up here in the mountains trying to fence off every cliff, river and lake!
Well, this GD post deserves a serious approach, so I'm holding off my usually flip comments and composing a much more thoughtful one. Being 76, chronological age, and having lost some dear friends to suicide in the past few years, this post hits home hard and deep. So, barring a life-changing event later today, I'll give it a try at responding. Willie
Indeed, as subjects go they don't get much more serious than this. I too have lost friends and the shock hit hard. It's a subject that frankly I am VERY angry about, particularly when they come up with their flippant "solutions" like the above.
I like the old saying, "You can take the noose out of the rope, but you can't take the rope out of the noose". I feel for the elderly being isolated and for the young being bullied. However, if a person truly wishes to kill him or her self, they'll find a way irregardless of what is outlawed. I was bullied as a youngster. It made me tougher! The elderly here are stacked in "Retirement Homes" like prisoners in a prison. Some of 'em even look like prisons. The Western world has lost its morality and gained nothing.
Bullying is a problem, particularly with all the social media around. Some can take it and toughen up, but others can't. However I think it is the general gloomy prospects in this country – a choice of emigration or life on unemployment – that is the big kicker. Even the toughest find that hard to swallow.
I remember reading last year that around 87,000 Irish had emigrated in a year, a record high. Very sad, indeed, Grandad. There was a bloke that did a documentary last year on the subject that showed all the educated Irish, unfortunately, leaving home for the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. From what I've gathered, you lot have almost as many coming in wanting to live off the state. Vote in a no nonsense monetary man er woman. That same could be said for us the the states. Our beloved president keeps adding to the debt like it's a limitless credit card. Eh? We were over our limit a decade ago. All of us in the Western World need to get our ducks in a row. 🙂
Cheer up ya miserable bastards. Life is for the living of. At full belt. Some folks just not meant for this world.
Jayzus, tt – that's a bit off colour? "Some folks just not meant for this world" Would you include yourself or your nearest and dearest in that statement?
Personally, I don't feel miserable. I feel angry. Really fucking angry. Those fucks who are supposed to be in charge here are destroying the country and the people are going down with it. And the best they can come up with is to restrict the sale of painkillers?
Unfortunately, in Ireland, the issue of mental health is still a big taboo. You might as well have leprosy if mention it. Having an STD carries less shame it would seem.
An excellent point. I would hazard a guess that the true figures for suicide are several factors greater than the official figures as there is a widespread tendency for coroners to report "accidental death" or "misadventure" to spare the families.
Maybe if they really started talking about the subject things might change, but that's a small hope.
Thank you. My Uncle committed suicide in the late70's/early80's (when I was a mere babby) … still not sure because it's just not spoken about. I wasn't even told this until I was in my late teens. You can imagine the stigma it brought. When I told my mother in my early 20's that I thought I was depressed, she (emotionally) ran for the hills. It's tragic that there's not more open understanding.
My fledgling blog is, in part, so I can deal openly with my depression. I've never been suicidal, but looking back from my mid-30's, that's more by chance than design.
Never the less it's true. Some folks just can't handle life. I had a good mate threw himself off a bridge into the canal when we were 20. I had a mate shot himself in the head 'cos he had lung cancer a couple of weeks ago. And several more in the intervening years. I accept suicide. And "yes" to your question. Far as I know.
I'd say there are few families who haven't ben touched by suicide at one time or another.
I grant that a lot of people find modern life intolerable and decide it isn't for them. There is a glib cliche that I have heard a few times that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It's a tacky soundbite but there is an element of truth to it. Unfortunately a lot just can't face the fact that "temporary" looks like lasting many years.
The Healy Rae idea is bonkers. But… But are we supposed to sit alone and isolated? A bit of imagination is called for anyway. A minibus dropping people home maybe? Suggestions…
Not really so bonkers? I don't think your old farmer pottering home in his ancient Morris Minor after three pints is going to cause much mayhem? I would love to see the statistics on the profiles of past drink/driving incidents. I would put my money on the young and the well off.
I don't think there's too many farmers driving Morris Minors anymore.
It's a ridiculous idea to grant exemptions. Publicans need to come up with solutions to get their customers home safely. If that means increasing the prices to city prices to pay for transportation then so be it.
I have a inkling that as people go, the Irish are afflicted with a sort of manic repression and a generational carrying of shame.
There's always been a problem with suicide in this country.. that's swept well under the rug, like a lot of other things here.
I think things will change though, gradually.
"Manic repression". I like it. It just about sums up the country at the moment.
This country has always either swept things under the carpet or just plain pretended they don't exist – abortion, marital abuse, child abuse, mental illness, the list goes on and on.
Mind you, if everyone suddenly became all touchy-feely about their emotions I'd probably be a little freaked out!
Borrowed it from this fella – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bhgt2pnSywI
"Fuckin' manic aggression."
It doesn't rain but it pours; I just heard the English want to divorce the lot o' you as well.
Too many potatoes then?
They have promised that before and I doubt it'll happen this time. However it's nice to have a little ray of sunshine in all the gloom.
We in Mayfield have the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of suicides in Ireland. A Nation-wide study carried out last year cited a "North City Suburb of Cork" as being the area with 17 suicides. The actual figure was eighteen, but the fact remains and they were all exclusively single young men.
Like you, I am raging at the official response to it all and I have also talked with peer-group members of the deceased who, to a man, blame a lack of "HOPE" as the cause.
This lack of hope becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of its own leading to anti-social behavior, lost education time, separation from home and love and exposure to life's harsher side. Conversely in Mayfield we have a pub culture that promotes the mixing of old and young and the weekend crowds include everything from grandparents to babes and everything in between. I suggest (unscientifically), that is the main reason the old-fella's are not doing away with themselves up here. Unfortunately, the young anti-social male is not welcome in the pub !!!
It is the same here………I put it down to isolation and unemployment!