Northern Ireland

Suicide vigil held for young people in Twinbrook

More than 100 people have taken part in a candlelight vigil on the outskirts of west Belfast to remember six young people who took their lives over the summer.

The event in Twinbrook came on the eve of World Suicide Awareness Day.

It was organised by the Colin Neighbourhood Partnership to remember those who had died and to highlight the high rates of suicide in the area.

The group believes 60 people have taken their own life in the past 13 years.

Annie Armstrong, Colin Neighbourhood partnership manager, explained the reasoning behind the vigil.

"This event brought people together so that they could remember their loved ones lost through suicide," she said.

"It also acted as a support vehicle for those bereaved through suicide and for those in the community who feel they needed to do something to highlight the needs of those in distress."

Caoimhin Gallagher lost his 18-year-old sister, Bronagh, three years ago.

He hopes anyone suffering from suicidal thoughts will know they can get help.

"The help is out there and there are people who will listen to you, don't let it get that bad and don't ever think that no-one will listen to you.

"There are many groups out there like west Belfast suicide awareness and PIPS, they're just two of many groups that will help you," he added.

Raise awareness

The vigil met at the Dairy Farm shopping centre and then made its way to the Celebration of Life garden at St. Luke's Church in Twinbrook.

The area of Colin is dealing with the fall-out of a number of suicides in the areas of Twinbrook, Poleglass and Lagmore and the vigil aimed to raise awareness and provide support at a community level.

The Colin Neighbourhood is an extensive urban district located on the periphery of west Belfast and falling within the Lisburn City Council local government area.

It is comprised of four distinct areas - Twinbrook, Poleglass, Lagmore and Kilwee.

It experiences high levels of unemployment and non-employment, health and well being problems.

In September 1999, a group now called the Colin Neighbourhood Partnership (CNP), was set up to highlight and address the issues and to discuss a way forward.

The group comprises key representatives from the local community and voluntary organisations, the local authority, statutory agencies, and political representatives.