independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Mum of suicide girls hits out at 'absent dad' over fundraiser

Erin Gallagher (13), left, and her sister Shannon (15) took their own lives last year

THE mother of schoolgirls Erin and Shannon Gallagher has spoken of her "deep hurt" after her former partner announced he was launching a fundraising campaign in their memory.

Erin (13) and Shannon (15) died seven weeks apart last year after taking their own lives.

There are claims that Erin, a pupil at Finn Valley College in Stranorlar, Co Donegal, was a victim of online bullies.

The girls' father Tony Traynor has spoken for the first time about the deaths and admitted he had been an "absent father".

Up until Erin's funeral, he hadn't seen either of the girls since they were aged two and four.

In a statement issued through her solicitor last night, Lorraine Gallagher expressed her anger at Mr Traynor's plans to organise a walk in the girls' memory.

"We started a new life a long time ago and he has some cheek trying to do this now," said Ms Gallagher.

"He wasn't there for the girls when they needed him and now he announces that he is doing walks for them and trying to name a community centre after them.

Responsible

"What they needed was a responsible father when they were little girls growing up and he admits that he was never that.

"He admitted that he had a drug and drink problem and that's what made me leave him.

"He would be better off keeping quiet."

Ms Gallagher added: "It's a bit late for him trying to become a role model for his two little girls when they are cold in the ground."

Erin died last October, a week before her 14th birthday. She had been taunted on the website Ask.fm by bullies pretending to be others.

Shannon died seven weeks later while in foster care.

Ms Gallagher said she had not wanted to make any further comment on the deaths "and let Shannon and Erin rest in peace".

But she said her ex-partner's plans to organise fundraising events in his native Scotland, which he announced last weekend, had "forced me to speak up for them."

She added: "I'm taking it one day at a time and trying to lead as normal a life as I can for Sean James.

"He was everything to the girls and I am trying to be as best a mum as I can for him. That's what the girls would have wanted. They adored him."

Irish Independent

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