A SCHOOLGIRL was too young to know that suicide is a "permanent solution to a temporary problem", a priest told mourners at her funeral.
Curate Fr David Halpin painted a stark image of the "ripples" of devastation caused by the death of Lara Burns Gibbs (12).
St Mary's Church in Maynooth, Co Kildare, was filled by pew upon pew of her school friends, as well as her grieving family.
"Feelings of depression, blackness, despair and pain do not last forever. They do go away," Fr Halpin said.
But the priest added that Lara's young mind did not understand her distress was not permanent.
Fr Halpin urged any young people suffering pain or difficulties to phone one of the many organisations that are there to help.
"We pray that Lara will be the last child or young person to die this way."
Maynooth Parish Priest Fr Liam Rigney recalled that in the space where her coffin now stood she had performed her Confirmation rite of passage earlier this year.
"So many lives have been touched by Lara, and her death has devastated so many," Fr Rigney said. "We just do not know why and we will never know why Lara took her own life. We will never know what was in her own head."
She is the third young girl to take her own life in recent weeks after Erin Gallagher (13), from Co Donegal, who died in October, and Ciara Pugsley (15), from Co Leitrim, who passed away in September.
Lara, who was found dead at the weekend, was a first-year student at Maynooth Post Primary.
She was yesterday laid to rest in her horse-riding clothes, chosen by her mother Helene, as it was in the stables that she felt most happy and comfortable.
Helene was held upright as she passed the coffin.
Lara is survived by her mother, father Robert, stepfather Noel and her brother Brendan, a third-year pupil a at Maynooth Post Primary school.
As the young voices from the school choir rang out, her brother Brendan helped to carry the white wooden coffin he had chosen for his sister on her final journey.