Castletroy and District Lions host ASIST

Civil Defence volunteer Gary Shanahan would feel more confident to help someone in distress having completed the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) course which recently took place in the Castletroy Park hotel, hosted by the Castletroy and District Lions Club.

In Ireland more than 20,000 people have taken this course since it was development in 1983, more than a million people have taken the ASIST course, which is a two day workshop in suicide first aid. The Living Works’ ASIST programme was developed in Canada in 1983 and is a Health Service Initiative (HSE) started in 2003. Starting in Canada in the early 1980s, More than half a million people have participated worldwide – over 20,000 in Ireland. The NOSP was formed directly after the launch of Ireland’s first suicide prevention strategy; Reach Out: A National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention 2005-2014. The NOSP coordinates ASIST at a national level.

The course trains participants to reduce the immediate risk of a suicide and increase the support for a person at risk. It also provides opportunities to learn what a person at risk may need in order to keep safe and get more help and it encourages honest, open and direct talk about suicide as part of preparing people to provide suicide first aid.

Gary, who is a Swiftwater and Flood Responder Instructor joined the Civil Defence in 2010 said, “A huge part of what we do is search and rescue. Often the person we are searching for may be in a distress state with intent to harming themselves. Our goal is to find the person before any harm can come to them. Once found it is vital to keep the person safe until they receive the help they need. I knew from talking to others that have done this course that it would give me the skills to keep that person safe.”

The Civil Defence is largely made up of volunteers who come from all backgrounds. There are between 3,500 to 4,000 volunteers throughout the country. Each county is then managed by a Civil Defence Officer who are employees of the local authority. The Civil Defence college is based in Roscrea and the staff that work there are employed by the Department of Defence.

 “Apart from meeting some fantastic likeminded people, I feel I gained a lot from the course. It gave me the confidence to approach a person in distress. The skills I learned gave me a clear end goal and a structure on how to get there. It was emotionally tough at times but well worth doing,” added Gary.

 The Castletroy and District Lions Club host the ASIST every year. 

For people who are affected to for further information on services and also the 24/7 free phone numbers for Samaritan’s 116123 and Pieta House on 1800 247 247

Gary Shanahan


Lotus Yoga Centre

A group of friends made their dream of working together come true, when the Lotus Yoga Centre opened on January 16, 2017.

Yoga instructors Mags McInerney, Pamela Enright, Julie Madigan and Caroline Kerley are united through their love of yoga, and have become such close friends over the years that they feel like family.

“It was my idea to open the centre. The girls and I had expressed an interest in working together and it just evolved from there. I feel everyone should do Yoga.  Not because I teach it but the benefits I have got from it, I wanted to share with others.  I also wanted my Mother to take up Yoga and I felt if I taught her in the right environment she would love it,’ said Caroline.

Caroline started practising Yoga under the direction of Michele Ryan of the Limerick Yoga Centre eight years ago, and quickly became so enthusiastic about it that she went on Yoga holidays and workshops.

“Pamela Enright told me that she was going to do a Yoga Teaching Course and would I be interested.  I went along with the attitude that if it didn’t do anything else it would improve my Yoga practice, but, after the first day I knew I had found something that it would be remiss of me not to share with others. I started studying to teach Yoga over a year ago,” added Caroline.

With the help of Tony Wallace of Rooney Auctioneers, Caroline soon found a suitable premises and her husband Noel Kerley with help from Robert Simring within a month had the premises renovated, resulting in a bright, airy, comfortable, warm and relaxing space.

Caroline is delighted and overwhelmed with the response and interest in the classes, and

would encourage anyone at any age to seek out a Yoga class and give it time. In particular she enjoys seeing people improve their posture, self-confidence and to learning how to relax.

“Yoga brings us face to face with the complexity of our own being.  It allows you to blossom in so many ways regardless of your ability. It’s not just about touching your toes or standing on your head, it’s about how you live your life on a daily basis.  Yoga is not about self improvement it’s more about self acceptance. The improvement will come when you allow yourself to be where you are.

“My hopes are that it will continue to go from strength to strength and that people who never tried Yoga before will come and try it and feel the benefit of the changes that Yoga can make to your life.  I love teaching Yoga as much as I love my self practice.  I feel blessed to have the opportunity to share it,” added Caroline.

Lotus Yoga Centre

4C Shannonville Ennis Road


087 2837638