The Action On Suicide Alliance says it will present a list of key recommendations to the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, in September on how to address the high rate of suicide here.

The alliance says the Taoiseach requested the policy document at a recent meeting, where he again apologised for comments he made at this month's ICTU conference in Co Donegal.

The 11 organisations which make up the alliance are now engaged in consultations to draw up a detailed list of requirements.

They say there is a need for a coordinated approach between state services, voluntary bodies and private enterprise.

They argue that the problem of suicide is so great that the Taoiseach's office needs to be directly involved in any effort to address the current situation.

Mr Ahern used the meeting with the Alliance to again apologise for comments he made on suicide at the ICTU conference when he suggested that he did not know how people who engaged in moaning about the economy did not ‘commit suicide’.

Alliance Chairman John Saunders said Mr Ahern raised the issue at the start of the meeting and stressed that his remarks were ‘off the cuff’ before asking the group to convey his regret for any offence they caused.