Suicides Account For 50% of 2006 Drownings

Almost half the number of drownings last year were suicides, according to the annual report of the Irish Water Safety Association.

The report says that at least 63 people drowned themselves in 2006; the reasons for another 15 deaths in the water could not be determined.

The number of people who drowned in the past year was the same as in 2005 but still unacceptably high, according to Irish Water Safety.

Of the 131 deaths, it says that 53 were accidents.

However, the organisation says many died because of complacency and ignorance of the dangers.

Over 1,000 people were trained by the organisation in swimming, lifesaving and rescue last year and today the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Tony Killeen, will launch a programme of 14 steps to safe swimming.

Irish Water Safety is urging people to be careful in the water this August weekend.