Victor Costello's sister becomes charity director

A sister of former Irish rugby international Victor Costello will be unveiled today as the first all-Ireland director of the Samaritans.

Dubliner Suzanne Costello will oversee the charity’s 21 branches and 1,856 volunteers on both sides of the Border.

Almost 300,000 people contacted the Samaritans for emotional support in 2005. An average of 15% of callers was suicidal.

Ms Costello, also a former international athlete, has previously worked at the Irish Film Institute in Dublin and the Imperial War Museum in London.

The UCD graduate is a former Irish international athlete at 100 metres and relay and also represented her country in hockey at university level.

She will hold a news conference in a Dublin hotel attended by Minister of State at the Department of Health, Tim O’Malley.

Ms Costello’s brother Victor played 39 times for the Irish rugby team between his debut in 1995 and his retirement in 2005.

Founded in the UK in 1953, the Samaritans offer 24-hour confidential emotional support to those in emotional distress.

The service is offered by 17,000 trained volunteers and is entirely dependent on voluntary support.

Operations in Ireland have been run from the UK up to now.

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