Speaking to the Irish News when Stormont Ministers were in Washington with chief executives of major companies attending the US:NI Conference, he stated “They bring back 60 jobs, but what about normal people on the streets whose jobs are in the building trade. What about them? What is the future for them? What have they done for grassroots community? Nothing. It’s about young people with no jobs – no chance of getting a job. You have all these people 17 and 18, up to Sean’s age and maybe older who have nothing.”
Northern Ireland has the highest levels of suicide in Britain and Ireland with 200 people dying of suicide last year. In Britain, statistic show suicide rates from “most deprived” communities twice that of the “least deprived” and almost a third of unemployed young men say they have considered suicide.
Young people in West Belfast have responded to these deaths with action, organising a 500 strong vigil. They have been inundated with support from the local community showing a willingness of people not to shy a way from these issues. The Socialist Party and Socialist Youth support initiatives that can stop this epidemic in our communities. There is a need for emergency funding to provide counselling services etc. to those who are considering such desperate measures and those families and friends who see the carnage suicide can cause.
As has been outlined by those who have lost loved ones, the real underlying issues have to be dealt with, particularly youth unemployment which now stands at 19% but is much higher in some areas. The programme of cuts will mean thousands more people thrown on to the dole queues and benefits cut. Suicide can be tackled by fighting the cuts to public services and also struggling to change society from the profit obsessed system of capitalism to a genuinely socialist society based on solidarity and providing for everybody’s needs.