“Last year I came across a guy on Sarsfield Bridge and he was adamant that he was going in and I had to physically take him off the bridge twice.”
Corbett Suicide Prevention Limerick (CSPL) senior patrolman David Crowe sat down with Limerick Voice reporter Soham Ghosh and recalled situations where he had to confront people who were on the verge of taking their own lives.
“He stood facing the bridge, he had taken off his bag and he started to take off his shoes, and then he was about to jump, and I had to get him down and talk to him,” Mr Crowe said.
“Luckily enough, five minutes later the guards came and took him. An hour and a half later he was walking across the bridge again with his hands up in the air saying ‘now I’m too tired to even kill myself’.”
CSPL is a voluntary organisation founded in 2012 by Lorraine Corbett in memory of her late brother Trevor Corbett.
The organisation began with six members operating out of a van but has since grown to a 32 member squad with their own base and equipment.
Mr Crowe said that the team operates three nights a week, and in the last five years they have made over 400 interventions.
He spoke about being part of the patrol for over four years, and how he remembered two instances where people had already jumped into the river before he was able to help.
“We were stopped at the Locke Bar and a local guard came over and told us that there was someone in the water. When we went down there, this person had been in the water for about 20 minutes and we could not do anything,” Mr Crowe recalled.
“We physically couldn’t go in for our own safety. At that stage, the fire brigade and Limerick Search and Rescue were called and she was taken out of the canal.”
These instances can affect a person psychologically, and Mr Crowe said that he took time off after the two incidents.
He also spoke about his first intervention where he had to speak to a man who had been having problems at home.
“In my first intervention, I was nervous as hell. The first one was a bit nerve-wracking but after that, your confidence builds up,” Mr Crowe said.
When asked how the CSPL went about their work, Mr Crowe said: “All we do is talk to people and ask them how they are, we’re not here to judge them. You can see the relief on their faces when they’re talking and opening up and that’s all they want, they just want someone to talk to.”
“I am preparing myself just in case there is another incident, but I’m touching wood that there isn’t going to be another one, but you just don’t know what’s going to happen on a patrol.”
The CSPL have support from Limerick Search and Rescue as well as from the Guards, with the Health Service Executive providing assistance training.
David Crowe believes that CSPL will be around for a long time, and a day will not come when they are not needed anymore.
“If we can help one person, I’m happy. People think that you are a hero for what you do but I am not a hero – the coast guard, the fire brigade lads – they are heroes in my eyes.”