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The guys at Gas Chat Ireland, urge us to look out for each other as times get tough...

Don’t keep it to yourself. Reach out to a mate if you’re feeling the pressure.

As dusk falls on 2020, we can’t help but be in some way relieved to see the back of it. Covid hit us hard. Those we’ve lost to the virus, the patients still fighting it, the businesses that had to close their doors, the employees that were let go and the many phone calls to banks enquiring about mortgage breaks; the emotional and financial pressure has been immense.

An Taoiseach, Micheal Martin, has announced six weeks of tough level five restrictions in an attempt to counteract the second wave. These restrictions are going to see more businesses close, jobs lost and ultimately more pressure on families especially coming up to Christmas. We can’t let these tough times get the better of us. Evidence suggests suicide rates increase during a global pandemic. While we don’t yet have the statistics on suicide rates during Covid-19, its clear there has been an increase.

We are currently a male orientated industry and we know men are three to four times more likely to take their own lives than women. We must be extra vigilant over the next few months. We need to look out for each other. We should reach out if we feel pressure.

Within Gas Chat Ireland, we have a very strong sense of community and our group enables guys from all over the country to come together for a chat. All in the industry are welcome to get involved and forget about the feeling of isolation that comes with the current restrictions.

As Christmas is nearly upon is, it’s important to mention the annual raffle. For the past three years, Gas Chat Ireland has raised funds for charities through a simple raffle to members. Suppliers, manufacturers and merchants have amazed us with their generosity and donated some great prizes to the cause. From boilers to full bathrooms, radiators, vouchers, tools, workwear and many more great prizes.

Since its inception, we have raised €35,400 for Irish charities. The last two years has seen Crumlin Medial Research Foundation being the sole beneficiary, with €30,800 being put to good use by the wonderful staff there.

Raffle tickets for 2020 are currently on sale and are available on our Facebook page. All entries cost €10, all of which goes directly to our chosen charity. It’s a great opportunity to support a worthy charity and be in with a great chance to win some top prizes

For now, stay safe, be a friend to those who need one and cherish those close to you. Happy Christmas and a safe and healthy 2021, from all at Gas Chat Ireland!

For a listening ear when times get tough call: Pieta House – +353 (0)1 800 247247 or Samaritans +353 (0)116 123 If you are an RGI or work in the gas industry and would like to join our pressure-free forum, search for ‘Gas Chat Ireland’ on Facebook for help, advice, member deals and a bit of craic.

“We must be extra vigilant over the next few months. We need to look out for each other. We should reach out if we feel pressure.”