The Offaly County Coroner has said that suicide is rampant and is a really serious situation in Ireland at the moment.

Dr Brian Mahon was speaking in Tullamore during the hearing of inquests this morning into the deaths of five people through suicide.

He said the situation appears to be particularly serious in rural areas, where there seems to be an increase in suicide deaths.

Evidence was given during this morning's inquests on the deaths of five men in separate incidents.

Support for those affected by mental health issues is available on a 24-hour basis through the Samaritans on 1850-609090.