On tonight’s Claire Byrne Live we ask: Is the battle for rural Ireland being won or lost? And what can Government, communities and individuals themselves do to help combat issues like rural isolation, unemployment, and emigration?

Just before we go live on air at 10.35pm, broadcaster and journalist, Richard Curran, presents a landmark documentary about the future for people living outside the main urban centres in Ireland.

Richard will be with us on the show and we are joined in studio by Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney to discuss what this government can and should do for rural Ireland.

Perhaps a more fundamental question is what do we want rural Ireland to be? Has it just become a commuter centre where people live who have access to jobs in the cities and major towns? Or should we be pumping taxpayer money into the countryside to create industry and tourism?

Also taking part in the discussion will be Minister Coveney’s counterpart in Fianna Fáil, Éamon Ó Cuív, who thinks decentralisation can still work. And we’ll be hearing from people from right around the country giving us their stories of the realities of day-to-day life in rural Ireland, including some who think it is up to rural communities to fight back and secure their own future.

We have asked our RTÉ/Amárach polling panel what they think should be done for rural Ireland and we will bring you the exclusive results on tonight’s show.

Children and suicide

Also on tonight’s programme, the RTÉ Investigations Unit has conducted ground-breaking research into 14 years of suicide statistics. We will be revealing some its startling findings live on the show.

On foot of these statistics, we will try to put a human face on the realities of suicide, by talking to young people who have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts. They will tell us how they cope and what they think needs to be done to help children and young adults who are facing similar issues.

Here’s a video of one of our younger voices, Jade McGowan, with a song she wrote after her uncle died by suicide:


 

Jade will be sharing her story with us tonight.

 

I hope you can join us on RTÉ One at 10.35pm
Follow us on twitter: @ClaireByrneLive
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f you want to apply to be in our audience any week click here: http://www.rte.ie/news/clairebyrnelive/tickets/

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in tonight’s programme, there are a number of helplines and websites which can be contacted for both immediate and longer-term help:

Console 24/7 Suicide Helpline

1800 247 247

www.console.ie 

Samaritans 

116 123

 http://www.samaritans.org/

Childline 

1800 66 66 66

https://www.childline.ie/

Teenline

1800 833 634

http://teenline.ie/wp/