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1,000 people honour loved ones at Console Celebration of Light

The event was organised by the national suicide prevention charity Console, and took place in Maynooth.

Light bearer Ali Kenny (age 13) at the Christmas Celebration of Light
Light bearer Ali Kenny (age 13) at the Christmas Celebration of Light
Image: Conor McCabe Photography

ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE gathered in Maynooth to remember and honour the lives of loved ones lost by suicide.

The Christmas Celebration of Light was organised by national suicide and bereavement charity Console and took place in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, on Sunday.

Minute’s silence

The night involved the lighting of candles and a minute’s silence to remember those who have lost their lives.

There were performances on the night from entertainers such as Frances Black, Eleanor Shanley and Frankie Laine, Clannad’s Moya Brennan with her daughter Aisling Jarvis, Paul Harrington and Ryan O’Shaughnessy. The service was led by author and broadcaster Christy Keneally, while RTÉ’s Eileen Dunne gave a reading.

At least 500 people lost their lives to suicide in Ireland last year – with the real figure being higher, according to Console.

Console founder and CEO Paul Kelly said:

The Christmas Celebration of Light provides a gentle and understanding environment for families and friends to remember their loved ones and celebrate their lives. The loss of a loved one is always devastating, but when that loss is through suicide it can be so much harder for the families and friends left behind.

He said that this special service “is one of the most important events in the Console calendar as it gives families and friends the opportunity to come together in solidarity to honour the lives of their loved ones”. Paul founded the organisation after his sister Sharon took her own life at the age of 21.

Console operates full-time centres in Dublin, Cork, Wexford, Limerick, and Galway and also offers services into Mayo, Kildare, and other areas of Dublin such as Tallaght and Clondalkin. It offers counselling services and 24-hour helpline support to people in crisis and those bereaved by suicide.

Counselling is available for any individual, couples, families or children who have been affected by suicide. Console can be reached at any time on freephone 1800 201 890 and there are also resources and useful information at www.console.ie.

1,000 people honour loved ones at Console Celebration of Light
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