Hundreds of people have attended Christmas “Ceremonies of Light” organised by the Console organisation, which offers support to people and families bereaved by suicide.

The ceremonies which include reflections, music poetry and dance took place at churches in Limerick, Galway, Cork, Wexford and Thurles.

They are regarded as one of the most important ceremonies held by Console each year.

The organisation says Christmas is one of the most difficult times of the year for people bereaved by suicide and it is important for them to know there are others who can join them them on their difficult road of grief.

525 people died by suicide last year according to official Central Statistics Office figures, but Console believes that figure to be much closer to 600 because not all suicides are recorded at inquests.

Official figures for the first three months of this year show 113 people died by suicide.