A Limerick man is calling on safety nets to be placed on the three main bridges across the River Shannon, in a bid to tackle the rising issues with suicide in the city.
Leon Anderson, a full-time magician, sparked the idea after watching a documentary on a similar process carried out on The Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.
Leon said the aim is to raise a barrier net up either side of the bridge which would act as a barrier to prevent people entering the river.
“I understand that if people want to commit suicide they’re going to do it, that’s the unfortunate situation, but there are people who don’t want to do it and it’s a spur of the moment thought,” said Leon, “they might have had one too many drinks or a little argument with someone at home and it’s a cry for help.”
Leon shared the idea on social media earlier this week. The Facebook page called ‘Safety nets on Limerick bridges proposal’, received over 4,000 page likes in less than 24 hours.
Leon’s idea has been backed by Ray O’Halloran from Limerick City Build along with numerous local councillors including Cllr Frankie Daly and Cllr Daniel Butler, who helped set up Lisa’s Light on Thomond Bridge, in a bid to tackle suicide.
However, a similar idea was turned down by the council in the past, according to Cllr Butler.
“The reasons why it wasn’t feasible were outlined before, two of the bridges are protected with fishing rights, the structure of the bridges are protected and the nets will diminish over a couple of months,” said Cllr Butler.
“But I’m supportive at looking at any idea that will prevent suicides, he said, “I’m hoping to meet with Leon and the engineers to look at the viability of the idea.”
Leon stresses that the nets aren’t there to prevent suicide, “it’s a deterrent from the person who might have an impulse thought,” he said.
“The net would be there to give them a second chance,” explains Leon, “a chance to say, hold on, what am I after doing here, before it’s too late.”
Speaking to suicide prevention services about the proposal, they said: “Anything that would stop suicide attempts would have our support.”