Firearm suicide decedents in the Republic of Ireland, 1980-2005

K. Sarma, S. Kola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To compare the sociodemographic characteristics of firearms suicide decedents and other suicide decedents in the Republic of Ireland between 1980 and 2005. Study design: A cross-sectional study of sociodemographic characteristics of those who committed suicide with a firearm and those who committed suicide by an alternative method. Methods: Suicide data from 1980 to 2005 inclusive, provided by the Central Statistics Office of Ireland, were analysed. For the purpose of this paper, suicide method was collapsed into two groups: firearm-assisted suicide (FAS) and non-firearm-assisted suicide (n-FAS). Differences in gender, marital status (married vs not married), area of residence (urban vs rural), agri-employment (agri-employed vs not agri-employed) and age were examined between the two groups. A logistic regression is presented using suicide method (FAS vs n-FAS) as the criterion variable and individual factors as predictors. Results: In total, 9674 suicides were recorded from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 2005. Seven hundred and ninety-three of these were FAS and 8881 were n-FAS. For both suicide profiles, the deceased were predominantly male, living in a rural setting and not married. However, this profile was more salient in the FAS group. In comparison with the n-FAS group, a greater proportion of the FAS decedents were male [χ2(1)=152.5, P≤0.0001, odds ratio (OR)=4.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.4-6.1], from a rural setting [χ2(1)=153.5, P≤0.0001, OR=4.4, 95%CI 3.2-5.6) and agri-employed [χ2(1)=21.3, P≤0.0001, OR=1.5, 95%CI 1.3-1.8). FAS decedents were significantly younger than n-FAS victims, although the size of this effect was small (z=-8.4, P<0.0005, r=-0.1). There was no difference in marital status between the two groups. Conclusions: Risk factors for FAS should inform policy-making in this area, with particular attention paid to protecting young males resident in rural settings. Consideration should be given to targeting agri-employed individuals as a specific at-risk group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-283
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2010
Externally publishedYes


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