UL shines a light of hope for people affected by suicide

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

Shane McCormack, UL Students' Union welfare officer and Niamh Power 4th year BSc psychology lending their support to the UL Candlelight Procession
A MOMENT of reflection and remembrance will take place on the grounds of the University of Limerick on Tuesday night in memory of those who have died by suicide.

A MOMENT of reflection and remembrance will take place on the grounds of the University of Limerick on Tuesday night in memory of those who have died by suicide.

‘Dochas - The Light of Hope’ will see students and members of the general public take part in a candlelit procession between 7pm and 8pm from the Students’ Union over the Living Bridge to the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.

“It is to remember people who have died by suicide from the college itself and from our own families,” explained Margaret O’Connor from Raheen.

Margaret’s world was torn apart when she lost both her husband and son to suicide within two years.

“Even though Christmas and the New Year is a time of great celebration, it is also a time of stress and anxiety, loneliness and hopelessness for a lot of people with the New Year coming,” she added.

Margaret explained how the students themselves had identified Christmas as a very difficult time of the year and wanted to do something to offer hope to people who may be suffering.

“We will walk in companionship and solidarity together and reach out to people and be there for them. For many people it will be their first Christmas without a loved one. As a group, we would walk together and face the new year in support of each other.”

The group will be meeting at the Students’ Union on Tuesday from 7pm.

“I will say a few words and two of the students are joining me. We will light a big candle there and walk across the Living Bridge and are going over to the academy centre. There will be a short play by the drama group there. We are hoping to have a gospel choir for a few songs.”

The event, the first of its kind, started as a college event but has grown into something much bigger.

“Since I have mentioned it to other people they are saying ‘I would love to be a part of that’,” said Margaret. “Anyone can turn up. We will have candles. There will be refreshments afterwards at the academy centre. Hopefully there will be a response to it and we will do it every year.”