Over 350 People Gather at Dawn in Roscrea to Remember Those Lost to Suicide

Over 350 people gathered in Roscrea on Saturday morning to remember those lost to suicide for Pieta House’s annual Darkness into Light 5km fundraiser. A total of 15,000 people turned out in 14 locations across the country. Micheal O’Muircheartaigh, Minister Kathleen Lynch, Davy Fitzgerald, Andrew Murray and Maura Derrane were among those rallying the crowds nationwide as thousands of people gathered in darkness at 4.00am and walked or ran the 5km course as dawn broke. This unique walk is symbolic of the work that suicide and self-harm crisis centre Pieta House do – they bring people from darkness back into the light.

“I’m overwhelmed by the massive turnout this morning and the huge support we’ve had all over the country in the weeks leading up to this fantastic event,” said Joan Freeman, Founder and CEO of Pieta House. “This walk is a beautiful way to start the day and I’m really encouraged by the fact that we now have 14 locations around the country on board for Darkness into Light. We’re getting ever closer to our long-term aim of having a Pieta House centre no more than 100 kilometres from everyone in Ireland,” she said.

This year’s Darkness into Light follows the release of new figures from Pieta House which shows a significant rise in the number of people seeking their help in 2011. The under-18 age group saw the highest increase with a rise of 93%. Females accounted for over two thirds of these. Under-18s also had the highest instance of self-harm.

Minister Lynch said she was both honoured and delighted to lend her support to the annual Darkness into Light event, having previously led the walk in 2011. “It’s an experience which stays with you for a long time afterwards,” said Minister Lynch. “Tragically, there is not a community in Ireland today that has not been affected by the trauma and despair that surrounds suicide and self-harm. The work of Pieta House is invaluable in helping both the individual and the families of those who have experience of self-harm or suicide to help them get through their dark time,” she said.

As Pieta House’s services are free of charge, fundraisers such as Darkness into Light are vital to ensure that the organisation can continue to be available to those most in need of help. Yearly running costs are now at €1.3 million.

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