Home > 16th annual Service of Commemoration and Hope.

Lynn, Ena (2015) 16th annual Service of Commemoration and Hope. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 53, Spring 2015, p. 4.

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On Sunday 1 February 2015 the National Family Support Network (NFSN) held its 16th annual Service of Commemoration and Hope in remembrance of loved ones lost to substance misuse and related causes. Its purpose is to publicly support and offer hope to families living with the devastation that substance misuse causes.


Those in attendance included the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke; Commander Kieran Carey, aide-de-camp to the Taoiseach; Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan; Bishop Éamonn Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, and other religious representatives; and family members, friends, and many people working in the drugs area. Music was provided by the soprano Linda Allen and the North Dublin Community Gospel Choir.


In her address to the gathering, Sadie Grace of the NFSN spoke about the latest report from the National Drug-Related Deaths (NDRDI). For the period 2004 to 2012 a total of 5,289 deaths were recorded by the NDRDI. Of these deaths, 3,112 were due to poisoning and 2,177 were deaths among drug users. She spoke about the increase in deaths due to polydrug use and the fact that the majority of those who died were young men.


Sadie Grace also spoke about the compounding factors affecting bereaved families, such as media coverage, increased financial difficulties and single parents or grandparents taking on caring responsibilities for young children. She mentioned the role of naloxone in preventing deaths from opiate overdose and the NFSN’s support for the HSE naloxone demonstration project.  She stressed the importance of expanding the availability of naloxone nationwide. The NFSN will be presenting Minister for Health Leo Varadkar with a petition requesting nationwide availability of naloxone.


In his reflection, Fr Edmond Grace SJ talked about the pain families have gone through and the need to acknowledge the loss but also to build on the strength of hope. Sandra Hill, a member of the NFSN Bereavement Support Group, gave a moving testimony about her positive experience as part of this group in dealing with the death of her brother. She sincerely acknowledged the tremendous work of the NFSN Bereavement Support Group and encouraged family members looking for help to contact the NFSN.

Poet and playwright Paula Meehan recited her poem ‘Pray for the children of longing’. Susan Scally of the Drugs Policy Unit read a message on behalf of Pope Francis. Kenny Hartnett, chair of SURF (Service Users’ Representative Forum), gave an honest and emotional speech about his experience as a drug user. In his address on behalf of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Bishop Éamonn Walsh spoke about the importance of acknowledging and never losing sight of the dignity of every person. Daniella Jurj of the New Communities Partnership recited a poem of hope, ‘Seasons of Grief’. Sister Geraldine Byrne of The Oasis Centre, a professional counselling and therapy service in Dublin, spoke about how every bereavement is a very personal and individual experience. She encouraged people affected by bereavement to seek support. (Ena Lynn)


You can contact the National Family Support Network at:

16 Talbot Street, Dublin 1

Telephone: 01-836-5168

email: info@fsn.ie

web: www.fsn.ie

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Prevention, Harm reduction
Issue Title
Issue 53, Spring 2015
March 2015
Page Range
p. 4
Health Research Board
Issue 53, Spring 2015

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