Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Community urged to support ‘Cycle Against Suicide’ SpinOff

A group of keen cyclists from the Crossmaglen area is helping organise a cross-border cycle event next month, aimed at raising awareness of suicide and support for those suffering from mental health problems

‘Cycle against Suicide’ is a country-wide initiative, led by cyclists keen to raise awareness of suicide and highlight the support available for people suffering from mental health issues or those at risk of, or bereaved by, suicide.

As part of its monthly ‘SpinOff’ events – where the charity takes its message to local communities – Crossmaglen, together with Carlingford in Co. Louth, will host the February event.

The cycle on Saturday February 28th is organised on a local level and encourages the wider community to participate together – ‘shoulder to shoulder’ – in the fight against suicide.

Cyclists can choose from two routes – 100km or 50km.  Leaving Carlingford at 10.00am, the route will pass through Omeath, Newry, Camlough, Silverbridge and Creggan before reaching Crossmaglen by approximately 12.30pm where refreshments and entertainment will be provided.  There will also be a short, informative talk on mental health issues.

Those completing the 100km route, will return to Carlingford via Culloville, Dundalk and Lordship.

Hosting the Crossmaglen leg of the event, the members of Crossmaglen Community Association said they are delighted to welcome the cross-border cycle to the town and endorse the charity’s message to “stand shoulder to shoulder” with the aim of breaking the cycle of suicide.  They are calling on the local businesses and communities in the area and along the cycle route, to show their support and volunteer on the day by stewarding, providing refreshements or decorating their area to show a true Céad Míle Fáilte to the 200+ cyclists who will be taking part.

Anyone interested in volunteering or donating towards the cost of refreshments and decorations or helping out on the day, should please contact Gerard McMonagle at Superbites, Damien Martin or Gerard Murray via Facebook, or by messaging the SpinOff Facebook Page:  All help will be greatly appreciated.

To emphasise the cycle’s ‘shoulder to shoulder’ basis and delivering the message that “it’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help” –  the cycle will adhere to a strict pace of 20km per hour, led by a pace car, fully marshalled and with support vehicles.

The committee of the Carlingford/Crossmaglen SpinOff take this opportunity to thank Crossmaglen Rangers and former Armagh footballer, Aaron Kernan, and Cavan’s Alan O’Mara for coming on board as Ambassadors for the SpinOff; and extend appreciation to the local PSNI and An Garda Síochána for their assistance thus far, and with their co-operation ensuring this will be a safe, enjoyable and educational day for all sections of the community.

The founder of the Cycle Against Suicide initiative, Jim Breen, offered his congratulations to the people from Crossmaglen and Carlingford for their efforts in organizing the event: “We are delighted that the communities of Carlingford and Crossmaglen have taken on the task of bringing a SpinOff to their area.  The beauty of the SpinOff is that they are lead by the locals and whether you are a cyclist or not, there is an opportunity for you to get involved in some capacity on the day.

One of the main aims of the day is to showcase the mental health organisations that are available in the locality to support the local communities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein councillor Terry Hearty added: “I want to give my total support and offer my congratulations to those behind the Cycle for Suicide Awareness campaign.  Local men Gerard McMonagle, Gerard Murray, Damien Martin and Aaron Kernan have created a terrific event here which I have no doubt will capture the public imagination when it comes to raising awareness around the scourge of suicide.

“Suicide claims hundred of lives, particularly young lives, across Ireland every year and simply talking about it, letting people know that there are other options out there, can save lives, so I wholeheartedly welcome this event.

“The cycle, which begins in Carlingford, will come through Crossmaglen on Saturday, February 28 and I would encourage as many people as possible to come out onto the streets, cheer them on and give this very worthy cause your support.”

For anyone in need of local support, you can contact PIPS on 30266195 or The Samaritans on 30266366 where there is always someone to talk to.

For further information on CAS 2015’s main cycle around Ireland this April please visit our website, Facebook or Twitter., @CASuicide.