Suicides are “certainly on the increase,” says local coroner Tim Kiely.
Looking back over the inquests held in County Kilkenny last year, a verdict of suicide was returned in one-third of them, he said.
Thirty-three inquests were held in County Kilkenny in 2011, and a verdict of suicide was returned on 11 of them.
“I would think that they are certainly on the increase,” Mr Kiely said regarding the level of suicides recorded in inquests in County Kilkenny last year.
And, he said, “there would not be any particular pattern. It seems to be, unfortunately, affecting both genders and all age groups and socio-economic groups.”
He also pointed out that, for a verdict of suicide to be returned, the coroner has to be satisfied that it is proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a higher burden of proof than the “balance of probabilities” required for the other verdicts.
This compares with 10 verdicts of accidental death, such as road traffic accidents or drownings; and four of natural causes.
There were three verdicts of misadventure, he said, and they were predominately drug-related – a poisoning or drug overdose “where somebody would have voluntarily taken something that resulted in their death,” but where they had not intended to kill themselves.
An open verdict was returned in four inquests, where the cause could not be determined.