Irish News

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Suicide girl's sister took own life

Published 13/12/2012 | 10:49

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The sister of a schoolgirl who killed herself less than two months ago has been found dead

The teenage sister of a schoolgirl who died by suicide took her own life in state care, it has emerged.

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Shannon Gallagher, 15, was found late on Wednesday night by a foster family less than two months after her 13-year-old sister Erin died.

The Gallagher family, from Ballybofey, Co Donegal, were said to be "completely distressed" following the double tragedy. Health Service Executive officials described Shannon's death as "tragic and unexpected".

Shaun Purcell, chief executive of Donegal VEC, which runs the school both girls attended, said staff were "trying to find the words and response". He said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, school and community at this sad time."

It is understood Shannon was found just before midnight, more than an hour after telling foster carers she had been placed with that she was going to bed. Gardai said she was discovered in the house in Stranamuck, near Castlefin, several miles from where her mother Lorraine lives in Ballybofey. It was not clear how long Shannon had been in foster care. The sisters attended Finn Valley College in neighbouring Stranorlar where Shannon was a fourth-year pupil.

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said he was "deeply shocked and saddened to learn of Shannon's death".

An aunt of the Gallaghers appealed for privacy for the family.

At the time of Erin's death on Saturday October 27, allegations circulated that she had been the victim of cyber bullying. The teenager had referred to it on the ask.fm networking website and hours before her death posted online comments about other teenagers taunting her.

Incidents of vandalism and intimidation in the Ballybofey/Stranorlar areas have been reported to gardai in the wake of Erin's death, with concerns over tensions among local teenagers. Gardai have been investigating claims of cyber bullying and it is understood a number of teenagers have been interviewed by officers.

A death notice for the teenager said she would be sadly missed by mother Lorraine, brother Sean James (aged four), grandfather, uncles, aunts, relatives and school friends. The funeral Mass for Shannon is to be held at St Mary's Stranorlar at 11am on Saturday morning followed by burial in Castlefin cemetery.

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