The Samaritans have seen a rise in the number of people in Galway turning to them for help.

A team of just over one hundred people in the Samaritans centre in Galway city who are part of a wider network of volunteers all over the island of Ireland who pick up the phone to listen to peoples' problems at any hour of the day or night, seven days a week.

Last year there was a noticeable increase in the number of young people turning to this listening service for emotional support. Many are dealing with relationship issues, experiencing difficulties at school or university, or have problems with their parents.

A Samaritan is there to listen to the people who phone them and will never tell anyone what to do, says Joy Stewart from the Galway Samaritans,

It'll be completely in confidence.

Adults who ring the Galway Samaritans also have a lot to deal with.

Alcohol problems, marital problems...people who are depressed, who are lonely...who are suicidal.

In recent years the Galway branch has developed a letter answering service, which has had a high uptake from people living in the west and midlands. Joy Stewart believes it is another way for the Samaritans to offer support for those in need.

We're delighted to receive these letters, every one will be answered immediately.

With running costs of five thousand pounds per year for the Galway Samaritan office, donations are always welcome. Volunteers are too, all of whom undergo training, and who have

An ability to listen to peoples' problems carefully and sympathetically, a warm understanding, and absolute discretion.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 29 October 1981. The reporter is Jim Fahy.