Charity founder wants river measures in Limerick

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Charity founder wants river measures in Limerick
IN an effort to prevent people taking their own lives on the Shannon, Pieta House founder Joan Freeman is seeking to have Perspex barriers erected along the quays.

IN an effort to prevent people taking their own lives on the Shannon, Pieta House founder Joan Freeman is seeking to have Perspex barriers erected along the quays.

Ms Freeman is in talks with Limerick City Council and the Limerick Marine Search and Rescue to try and have them put in place, after it emerged there were 53 callouts to the river last year for people jumping in.

Speaking at the launch of the suicide awareness charity’s annual fundraiser in Limerick, she said: “At the moment, there is nothing there. We want to try and make people stop in their tracks: to think this is not such a good idea after all.”

Ms Freeman said she was shocked when she saw that along Limerick’s river-front, there were no walls to prevent people falling in.

She feels that a sign advising people against jumping into the river is simply not enough.

“I think it would have to be something very startling. We are looking at clear Perspex types of shields,” she confirmed.

Thousands of people are expected to attend Limerick’s Darkness into Light walk next month.

It will commence at Thomond Park, and travel around the river area.

During the walk Limerick Marine Search and Rescue will be providing ‘cover’ along the river area.

Now in its third year in Limerick, Jimmy Connors, the chairman of the Marine Search and Rescue, said: “It is the most wonderful experience I have ever witnessed at that hour of the morning. Everyone is so friendly: men, women and children, and people walking with their dogs. It is a great feeling.”

But on the idea of Perspex barriers, he said he feared this would not deter people, due to the access to the river which can be gained from the bridge.

Thousands of people are expected to take part in the Darkness into Light walk on Saturday, May 11 at 4am. For more information, visit www.pieta.ie.