I would like to extend sympathy to Sinn F

  • PS

    Go ndearna Dia trocaire ar a anam.

  • PS

    That’s a lovely piece of writing on death you’ve just quoted, Ambrose.

  • irishman

    I agree PS.

    There needs to be a comprehensive analysis on why so many people in the Belfast area are committing suicide. Previously most of these tragic incidents seemed to involve teenagers and young men, but in recent weeks a number of older men seem to have taken their own lives as well.

    All in all, an absolute tragedy.

  • willowfield

    One wonders to what extent the rule of these districts by the terror gangs contributes to the mental despair leading to suicide.

  • jessop

    I think that is a very pertinent question willowfield, not only in the context of this issue, but also in the wider context of how the legacy of paramilitarism impacts NI society now and going forward.

    As the troubles thankfully come to a close, we have “Freedom Fighters” on both sides of course, now engaging in racketeering, drug dealing, murders, beatings and general organised crime/gangsterism. I’m not too well versed on the subject, but I believe that this is a known syndrome which arises when societies emerge from conflict and there are redundant combatants (for want of a better description)

  • George

    There is a higher rate of male suicide south of the border than in the six counties willowfield so terror gangs are obviously not the main reason.
    Many young men commit suicide in the leafy suburbs too.

    I use the term male suicide as I believe the pc version “youth suicide” hides the fact that it is predominantly a male issue.

  • Davros

    There is a higher rate of male suicide south of the border than in the six counties willowfield so terror gangs are obviously not the main reason.

    I don’t think the first part proves your conclusion George – and I’m NOT on your case, honest.
    The two societies are so different that it’s entirely possible that the main reason in each case could be very different.

  • willowfield


    There is a higher rate of male suicide south of the border than in the six counties

    Didn’t know that. Interesting.

    so terror gangs are obviously not the main reason. Many young men commit suicide in the leafy suburbs too.

    Not obvious, but it’s certainly very plausible that they aren’t.

    What was in my mind when I made the suggestion was a suicide earlier in the year of an Ardoyne teenager who had been beaten, tarred and feathered
    by the INLA.

    But that is just one case. I know there are many suicides that have no connection to paramilitary oppression.

  • George

    the gap is closing though I believe.

    Terror gangs are a symptom of the ills of a society just like suicide. I admit the presence of terror gangs could be a contributory factor (Limerick City has the highest suicide rate in Ireland) but I believe the same societal problems that lead to these gangs also lead to higher rates of suicide.

    According to the National Suicide Research Foundation, 81% of suicides in Ireland (Republic of) between 1998 and 2002 were male. Three quarters used hanging or drowning.
    Nearly half of those who attempted suicide had consumed alcohol.

  • ricardo

    How do young men express their feelings?

    Who do they turn to when their lives are falling apart?

    Most young guys probably don’t feel able to tell someone when things are getting on top of them.

    For example, if one of my female colleagues came into work today, and broke down in tears at her desk, she would be surrounded by other women offering sympathy and support etc.

    If I was to burst into tears at my desk, people would start to think that I had gone mad.

    A lot of men feel unable to express their emotions and therefore they bottle them up. Suicide can result.

  • willowfield

    A 13-year-old girl from the Shankill killed herself a few weeks ago.

  • George

    There goes that promotion Ricardo maybe even the job if you do that at your desk.

    I know this sounds perverse but I think for many young men, suicide is a way of taking control of your life back.
    Everyone is always telling you what to do and what you need to be in order to be accepted. Well a man always likes to be in control.

  • ricardo

    You’re absolutely right George. If you’re a young man who shows his emotion by getting angry, people will probably tolerate that to a certain extent.

    If however your emotion manifests itself in crying etc, people will probably look on you as being ‘weak’ and not many young guys will want to be seen like that.

    I lost a friend to suicide and it still pains me to think that he had all these things on his mind, but obviously just felt that he had no choice but to keep them to himself.

  • Davros

    Agreed Ricardo. Those left behind suffer dreadfully.

  • Colm

    This is a hugely complex and troubling topic.

    The issue of male suicide in particular is, I feel very much bound up with the huge changes that have taken place in society re; the role of each gender.

    Without wishing to disdain the improved societal conditions for women , there can be little doubt that the last few decades have been progressively ‘female’ and it will probably take a few more decades for that adjustment and it’s consequent discomfort to traditional male roles to settle down.

    In particular I believe the ending of the so-called traditional fixed patterns of life for many working class men which applied throughout much of the 20th century (leave school, enter local industrial employment often alongside neighbours and friends, and maintain that job for life while marrying and having children) and which gave them stability and purpose albeit in a treadmill fashion has now largely dissapeared and the more female friendly nature of employment, along with the tendency towards relying on academic qualification and longer educational experience which simply doesn’t suit many young men has left a modern generation feeling isolated and bereft of a meaningful and respectful role.

    This is a process of generational change which has it’s casualties and recognising that the disgarding of traditional male roles without yet replacing that with a comfortable and recognised place in society for these young men is a problem that all of society will have to deal with for many years to come.

  • Davros

    Colm, you raise an interesting point. I Know it’s dangerous to read anything into correlation, But I remember in the past we discussed the areas of Belfast that had the highest levels of Domestic Violence – North and West Belfast.

  • Colm


    I remember that thread. Didn’t it descend into a Punch and judy slanging match about whether Prods or T aigs beat their wives more.

    I hope this thread doesn’t turn into a sectarian “which side is more to blame for suicides” argument. The issue of young people commiting suicide is too tragic for that and deserves more thoughtfull consideration.

    As to the issue of domestic violence (de ja vu with A Tangled Web here) I would doubt the commonly held belief that it is more of a working-class problem. It’s probably more the case that middle class households are more adept at raising the imaginary screens of public invisibilty on this matter. The lazy stereotype of the working class man quick to raise his drunken fists while your middle class professional is more wounding with his sharper words adds to the deception too.

  • Davros

    For once I don’t think it did Colm.Re ATW , is it me or is it having Haloscan problems ?

  • Colm


    Aah at least it’s not only me. When I click on the haloscan comments box I just get a blank screen, but at least we do have Andrew’s Feeney watch to read, and guess what? SURPRISE SURPRISE He’s not happy with Mr Feeney this week. Well you could knock me down with a feather LOL.

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    Re ATW , is it me or is it having Haloscan problems ?

    Routine maintenance, I fear. They have to clean the bile off the server every now and then :o)

  • Davros

    I did warn them 🙂 Mind you he’ll be ever so disappointed with Jude’s column today. I must ask him if he’ll give Andrew a mention next week 😉

  • Colm

    Andrew being mentioned in The Irish News. What an accolade. It will bring tears to his eyes.

    Gerry, your joke about the server was cruel but funny 🙂

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    meanwhile, back on thread…

    There was an interesting article in De Paper (reg required) yesterday. More people in the 15-24 age group died by their own hand than in road traffic accidents, and suicide accounts for one in three deaths in this age group.

    Incidentally, even though we regularly take the piss out of Andrew McCann, it would be interesting to get his viewpoint on this, given the nature of his day-job (addiction counsellor). I remember him posting once that he comes face-to-face with it quite often.

  • Colm


    I agree with you. There is something awful about young people mainly in good physical health choosing to end their lives. Your right given the nature of Andrew’s work his view on this and knowledge of the feelings of those who contemplate this route would be worth reading. Unfortunately Andrew stormed away from S’hinner infested Slugger’ some month’s ago and while I can’t vouch for whether he continues to read here any more , he has kept true to his vow not to comment here anymore. So , when we can get back on to haloscan it will be worth raising the topic with him.

  • ulsterman

    Whar a morbid talk. A simpler way would be for the police to arrest all in SF and shoot them,

    God Save The Queen.