Pictured above (left to right): Louraine Tomlinson, Mike Mulholland, Keith Earls, Mike McNamara, Mary-Ellen Kelly, David Crowe; Photo by Caleb Purcell Photography, all rights reserved.
By I love Limerick Correspondent Ethan Glavin
Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol officially took residence in their new headquarters at the Potato Market in Limerick City on Friday. The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by volunteers of the organisation, their families and friends, as well as Cathaoirleach of Limerick City and County Council Joe Crowley, and CSPP Ambassador Keith Earls.
“I was always seeing them on the bridges, and wondering what they were doing.” Said their ambassador, and with that probably echoed the thoughts of many members of the public. CSPP are hard to miss with their fluorescent uniform jackets, but their contribution to society is kept quiet, as suicide is still a taboo topic.
The group sends out two teams to patrol the bridges of Limerick City three nights a week. Equipped with personal flotation devices and first aid kits, a team of three sets of on foot, while two more people take to bicycles on their 8-loop around the bridges. They keep an eye out for people who look sad or distressed and may be contemplating suicide, and talk to them to calm them down and help them get help. CSPP also work closely with Limerick Marine and Rescue, and can contact them through the coastguard in case of emergency.
When CSPP Secretary Louraine Tomlinson approached Keith Earl, asking if he’d be interested in being their ambassador, the rugby player did some research, and didn’t have to think twice. “I jumped at the chance.”
Vice Chairman David Crowe acknowledged that their work “is not for everyone”, but said that they hoped to expand their team from 35 to 40 volunteers, to be able to increase their patrols from three to five nights a week.
The group relies solely on volunteers to be able to do what they do, and similarly depend on fundraising efforts, such as raffles and quiz nights to be able to pay for their equipment. Mike McNamara, CSPP’s Liaison Officer, notes that the bikes, which were kindly donated to the group by Frank Hogan, were “vital to the patrol, they enable us to travel the route at extra speed.”
Originally the group kept its gear in a little hut, barely the size of a garden shed, but their equipment got damp, and there was no room for their bikes. The new premises were given to CSPP by the Limerick Market Trustees eight months ago, and thanks to funds provided by SES, the group was able to dry line, plaster and paint their new four walls, and put in a kitchen. Now they are not only able to store their gear appropriately, but also have a space for meetings before, and debriefing after their patrols.
Mr Crowley stressed the importance of such a service for Limerick. “Well, I think over the last couple of years suicide has become very prevalent all over Ireland, and it’s also happening on our own doorstep. Counselling and all auxiliary services are crucial, but here at CSPP you have people actually patrolling the bridges at night, and it’s obviously crucial.”
Corbett Suicide Prevention was founded in November 2012 in memory of Trevor Corbett, the founder of the Countrywide Emergency Response Team (CERT), who took his life in May 2012. CSPP is a re-launch of CERT, which was the first organisation of its kind in Ireland.
“Trevor had an immense need to save other people, but he didn’t have the skills to save himself.” Louraine said about her brother, then adds: “There’s plenty of help out there if you look for it.”
Photos by Caleb Purcell for ILoveLimerick.com 2014. All Rights Reserved.