independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

School appeals for ‘time and space’ after sisters’ deaths

THE school which sisters Shannon and Erin Gallagher attended have appealed for time and space after a teenage girl died less than two months after the suicide of her younger sister.

Shannon Gallagher, 15, who paid emotional tributes following 13-year-old Erin's death, was found dead in Co Donegal last night.

It is believed she also died by suicide.

The Donegal VEC, which runs Finn Valley College in Stranorlar, which both girls attended, said they were "trying to find the words and response".

Chief executive Shaun Purcell said school staff and health agencies involved needed to be given time to support the community.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, school and community at this sad time," he said.

The Gallagher family, from Ballybofey, were said to be “completely distressed" by the tragedy.



In a statement on behalf of the Donegal VEC, Mr Purcell said the primary concern was the welfare of pupils and staff.

"This is an extremely difficult time for all concerned. The critical incident team is in place in the school as a support for students and staff," he said.

"We understand that the press and media are anxious to cover the tragedy. However, the welfare of its students and staff is the primary concern of Co Donegal VEC.

"We request that the appropriate agencies are allowed the necessary time and space to support the school."

Mayor of Donegal Frank McBrearty expressed his sincerest condolences to Shannon's family and friends.

"His thoughts and prayers are with Shannon's family, friends and her wider community at this very sad time," he said in a statement through the county council.

Mr McBrearty joined the Donegal VEC in appealing for authorities be given time and space to review the circumstances of Shannon's death and respond in the most appropriate way.

"He is also asking that the wishes of the family for privacy at this very sad time be respected by all concerned," the council said.

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