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Suicidal man found twice in one night by volunteers

The founder of Claddagh Watch Patrol, a voluntary organisation that aims to prevent accidental deaths and suicides in Galway, has spoken of how a troubled man was released by emergency services last weekend and had to be stopped from entering the water on two occasions.

Arthur Carr told RTÉ radio’s Today with Séan O’Rourke show that one of his group’s volunteers had been approached by a member of the man’s family to say they had found a suicide note.

The patrol found the young man in a distressed state sitting on a 12 foot high wall over the river. The volunteers had to ‘manhandle’ the person to safety and then called 999.

The man was taken away by emergency services “to be assessed”, but within an hour he was back on the bridge again, said Mr Carr.

The volunteers engaged with him again and eventually talked him into coming into a nearby hotel where a member of his family spoke with him and managed to get him to agree to seek psychiatric care.

There is nothing here for people distressed, not just in Galway, this is happening all over the country. When a person is brought away to be assessed then they are released because there is no place for them to go.

Mr Carr said it was a frequent occurrence for volunteers to encounter the same person twice in one night. “The ‘blue light services’ are stretched. If there are alcohol or drugs involved, the psychiatric services don’t want to know.”

He added that very often one or both (alcohol and drugs) are involved. “They wipe their hands of them, there is no place for them.

“When you’ve got a young person attempting to jump into the water at 11pm, there’s something wrong, but then a medical person will say they’re ok to release.

“Why is all this happening? This should not be happening. This deserves care and attention. These people are not in a good place, they deserve a chance to get back on their own two feet, but they’re not going to do that by being put back on the street.”

Mr Carr explained that Claddagh Watch was founded in January 2019 after five people were lost in one week to the river. The first patrol of volunteers took place in July 2019, to date there have been 30 engagements when volunteers intervened and then called the emergency services.

“When we approach a person we treat them as we would like to be treated ourselves. We start a conversation and nine times out of ten they will communicate with you.”


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