Skip to Content

Pieta to continue offering support following landmark Darkness Into Light ‘Sunrise Appeal’

  • Electric Ireland and Pieta thank the people of Ireland for their support of the emergency ‘Sunrise Appeal’

Today Electric Ireland and Pieta thank the nation for raising an incredible €4 million in response to the emergency ‘Sunrise Appeal’.

Saturday May 9th saw a Darkness Into Light like no other, as tens of thousands of people all over the country rose at dawn and participated in a ‘Sunrise’ moment, marking the time when they would have walked from Darkness Into Light. Many people shared touching images, words and videos across social media, supporting the cause and offering hope and solidarity to those impacted by suicide. Many locations known for Darkness Into Light walks saw visitors in yellow t-shirts come together, at a safe distance, to mark the moment with Pieta.

The weekend began with a powerful call from The Late Late Show who kicked off a monumental evening for mental health with a candle-lit tribute to the memory of all those who died by suicide in the last year. The programme continued with powerful stories of dark times, bravery, compassion and hope, inspiring the public to raise €2 million for Pieta, a groundbreaking moment in Irish television history. Ireland was once a place where suicide and self-harm were whispered in the darkness, the stories shared demonstrated that these issues can be discussed without stigma and shame. The Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy praised sponsor Electric Ireland for committing €100,000 to the ‘Sunrise Appeal’.

The historic weekend saw an array of well-known personalities support the ‘Sunrise Appeal’, including: An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Laura Whitmore, Eoghan McDermott, Jennifer Zamparelli, Elaine Crowley, Louise Cooney, Roz Purcell, Vogue Williams, Niamh Cullen, Hannah Tyrell, Darren Kennedy and many more. They joined the Gaelic Players Association, the Women’s Gaelic Players Association, and a vast army of Pieta supporters.

Elaine Austin, Pieta CEO commented:

In early March, as a lockdown loomed, we started to appreciate the huge impact that Covid was going to have on our annual Darkness into Light event. It became clear to us very quickly that the physical Darkness Into Light walk would not be possible. Working closely with Electric Ireland, our partner for Darkness into Light, and our Darkness Into Light Committees all over Ireland, we developed the Sunrise Appeal. Marking May 9th, the original date for our event, and being mindful of the need to adhere to social distancing guidelines, the Sunrise Appeal was an opportunity for thousands of people, affected by suicide, self-harm and bereaved by suicide to stand physically apart but together at this time in solidarity, in remembrance and in hope.”

Ms. Austin continued; The response to the Sunrise Appeal and the fundraising that took place on last Friday’s Late Late Show is unparalleled and very humbling. At this time of great uncertainty, it clearly demonstrates the compassion, kindness and generosity of the Irish spirit. The Sunrise event would not have been possible without the support of Electric Ireland who were with us every step of the way. With their help, the extraordinary help of our Darkness Into Light Committees and the overwhelming support from the Irish public, we will save lives now and into the coming months.

Pieta is always focused on efficiently delivering effective therapy to those in need. We began the Sunrise campaign from a financially challenged position. The fundraising that was achieved in the past week will enable us to refocus our efforts on delivery of as many free therapy sessions as possible from all of our Pieta centres nationwide and for this we are most grateful, from the bottom of our hearts we thank you.”

Marguerite Sayers, Executive Director, Electric Ireland, said:

“The people of Ireland came together brighter than ever for Darkness Into Light this year in a truly unique and awe-inspiring way. The collective solidarity shown by communities all over Ireland, given the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, demonstrates that when people put their minds and hearts to something, they can achieve anything. As a committed partner to Pieta for eight years we have weathered many storms together and even in the face of a global pandemic we have been able to work together to ensure that Pieta can stay on the frontline of suicide prevention and continue saving lives. It’s our honour to participate in this way and continue to support such a vital cause especially given the additional pressure on its services. And to those who donated over the past two weeks – sincerely, thank you.”

The Darkness Into Light walks are Pieta’s largest annual fundraiser, helping to fund its free nationwide services around suicide and self-harm prevention and support. The generosity of the Irish public, and corporate supporters like campaign sponsor Electric Ireland, has seen the charity generate funds of €4 million. All funds raised will support Pieta to deliver its counselling, therapy and bereavement services across its 15 centres in Ireland plus four outreach centres. Pieta operates its 24-hour suicide helpline (1800 247 247) and contributes to the Resilience Academy programme which supports youth mental health in schools. Since opening its doors 13 years ago, Pieta has supported 40,000 people who were at the point of suicidal crisis and/or engaging in self-harm. If you want to continue to help support the work of Pieta you can still donate by visiting @ElectricIreland @PietaHouse #DIL2020




The need for Pieta's lifesaving services is greater than ever as COVID-19 impacts not only on the nation's physical health but its mental health too. As people find themselves worried, anxious, under strain, financially impacted and in many cases isolated and alone, the effect on mental health is significant. Recent research has also confirmed that 1 in 5 Irish people are experiencing clinically defined levels of depression. Even before COVID-19 the public need for Pieta’s services was on the increase, with calls to Pieta’s helpline up 49% year on year while text messages to Pieta had increased by 46%.

Research conducted by Maynooth University and the Centre for Global Health at Trinity College Dublin as well as researchers in Ulster University, Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Sheffield.

Over 1,000 adult citizens of the Republic of Ireland completed the survey, which was launched on 31 March; 31 days after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in the Republic of Ireland.

More info:


Darkness Into Light (DIL) is Pieta’s flagship annual fundraising and awareness event. It started with approximately 400 people walking the 5km course in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in 2009. Last year over 200,000 people helped promote suicide prevention and tackle the stigma that leads people to the doors of Pieta. Donate at


Pieta was established in Lucan, Co Dublin, in 2006 and now has 15 centres across Ireland. Pieta offers free counselling to those suffering from suicidal ideation and to people who are engaging in self-harm. Pieta operates a Suicide Bereavement Counselling Service providing free counselling, therapy and support to individuals, couples, families and children who have been bereaved by suicide. Staff are fully qualified and provide a professional one-to-one therapeutic service. Pieta Resilience Academy is an initiative to teach school going children positive mental health techniques and strategies.  The Resilience Academy is a six-week, evidence-based programme that was designed ‘with schools, for schools’. The programme aims to provide students with skills and coping mechanisms that are needed to succeed in school, and throughout their adult lives. Pieta also operates the free 24-hour suicide helpline 1800 247 247. For more information visit  

ABOUT ELECTRIC IRELAND                           

Electric Ireland has supported Darkness into Light since 2013, working with Pieta to bring hope to customers, staff and communities across Ireland that have been affected by suicide.

Electric Ireland was launched in 2011 as the retail arm of ESB Group, supplying electricity, gas and energy services to the business and residential markets in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Electric Ireland is recognised as Ireland’s leading energy provider and has a mission to create a brighter future for the customers and communities it serves.