Friday 19 December 2014

HSE were 'warned about tragic Erin weeks before suicide'

Erin Gallagher's mother Lorraine and sister Shannon
Erin Gallagher: death has stunned community

HEALTH service officials were warned that tragic Erin Gallagher was at risk of suicide eight weeks before she took her own life.

The startling revelation was made by a member of the board of management at Erin's school.

Donegal mayor Frank McBrearty, who sits on the board of Finn Valley College, said a concerned parent went to social services after learning from his own daughter of allegations that Erin (13) was being bullied and was contemplating suicide.

It is unclear what intervention the HSE made when told of fears for the safety of the bullied teen.

The disclosure will prompt calls for an independent inquiry into the teen's death.

Mr McBrearty told the Irish Independent that nothing was done after the parent raised the matter with social services.

The HSE were not prepared to comment on the allegations.

Mr McBrearty said a full investigation into all allegations needs to be conducted.

"There are serious allegations being made that this was reported to the authorities eight weeks ago.

"That needs to be investigated and why was there no action taken," he said.

"From representations made to me. . . the allegation that Erin was threatening to commit suicide was reported to social services by a parent.

"Their (the parent who reported the matter) allegations are that nothing was done about it and Erin subsequently committed suicide," Mr McBrearty added.

"That is what these parents are telling me.

"As a public representative, I have a duty. I have a parent making this allegation to me. He reported it to the social services about the girl, as he was concerned.

"I asked the principal (Frank Dooley) to call a school board of management meeting but he declined.

"He said he had consulted with the chairman of the board of management (Patrick McGowan).

"I said I am not happy with it. I speak for myself and there should have been an emergency meeting of the board of management.

Irish Independent

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