The number of suicides and people self-harming is continuing to rise, Minister of State for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch has told the Dáil.

Minister Lynch said the latest figure for suicides are for 2009 when 527 people died. There are indications that more suicides are occurring, she added.

Richard Boyd Barrett of People Before Profit said the suicide rate amounted to a slow massacre.

He said there was an established link between suicide and those who were unemployed, or had mental health issues.

Mr Boyd Barrett said it was a fact that Government cuts kill. He said social welfare cuts hit the most vulnerable and had to be reversed.

In his constituency, in Sallynoggin, he said a library had been closed due to the cuts.

The first library to close was in one of the poorest parts of the constituency, even though it had been used by the young and the unemployed.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said family resource centres were also being cut.

Almost three times as many people die by suicide as are killed on the roads, Fine Gael's Dan Neville said.

He said many people believed the actual figure was over 600 in 2009 and only 212 had died on the roads.

He welcomed the promise in the Programme for Government that funds for mental health, including suicide prevention, would be ring-fenced.