Liberties: Trees of hope for suicide victims
A TREE of hope has been planted in the Liberties for locals who died by suicide.
The cherry blossom tree was planted in the green area at Pimlico beside the Meath Street flats on January 24, and it was initially planned to specifically remember the lives of two young locals.
However, almost 200 people turned up on the day it was planted and other victims are being remembered as well.
During the ceremony, hundreds of yellow balloons were released.
Now the initiative is to be spread across the south of the city with more tree-plantings planned for the Oliver Bond flats and the Ballyfermot and Crumlin areas.
"This is a grass-roots community action tackling a serious issue that's blighting their communities and families," said local Sinn Fein councillor Criona Ni Dhalaigh.
"By the time the tree was being put into the ground there were photographs of seven people on the ground. It came about because there had been a spate of suicides in the area, specifically among young people," she said.
The councillor pointed to issues such as unemployment, social isolation and cuts to community services as contributing factors to the rise in suicides.
"I knew it was a problem but I realised it was a bigger problem when I saw the number of people at the tree-planting," she added.
An application has now been submitted for a bench to be erected alongside the cherry blossom tree that was planted last month.
The Tree of Hope group was set up community activists Noeleen Fulham and Ashling Kerr Stanley last year beginning with a tree being planted in Tallaght. They now plan to plant a forest of trees of hope.
The Samaritans 24-hour Helpline number is 116 123