The amount of money raised through the Darkness Into Light fundraiser in aid of suicide prevention charity Pieta has exceeded €7 million.

The charity had set a target of €5 million, but this was surpassed even before the event took place in the early hours of yesterday morning.

More than 140,000 people worldwide signed up to participate in this year's Darkness Into Light, and donations can still be made online.

Pieta said it is humbled by the news that the amount of money raised through Darkness Into Light has topped €7 million.

Pieta Fundraising Manager Tom McEvoy said: "We are truly humbled by the response to this year's event and very grateful to our partners in Electric Ireland. Despite the inclement weather, tens of thousands of people turned out at sunrise on Saturday to support Pieta and to fund expansion of our free counselling services.

"For many, of course, this is more than just a fundraising event - it is an opportunity to commemorate loved ones lost to suicide and to do so in solidarity with others similarly affected."

The charity is expected to reveal the final fundraising figure from this year's event in the middle of next week.