Thursday 22 March 2018

'Giving evidence was like reliving Erin's death all over again'

Erin Gallagher
Erin Gallagher

Greg Harkin

The mother of 13-year-old Erin Gallagher, the Donegal schoolgirl who took her own life after being bullied online, has said she hopes no other parent will have to suffer the same torment.

Erin took her own life at her home in Ballybofey in October 2012. Her sister Shannon (15) took her own life 45 days later.

Lorraine Gallagher said in a statement issued through her solicitor that giving evidence at her daughter's inquest yesterday was like reliving her death all over again.

The inquest into Erin's death heard how the schoolgirl was tormented by bullies on the website.

"It was all just a blur those few days. Finding Erin in the house like that is something I just hope no other parent has to ever go through," said Lorraine.

"Erin was in such good form that afternoon when herself and Sean James (Erin's brother) called in to see me at work.

"There was no warning that she was planning to do this.

"I just couldn't understand how that was it - that I would never speak to her again, to be able to hug her or joke with her.

"Giving evidence and speaking in front of everyone again was just like reliving it all again. I listened to the words and I could see Erin in front of me again as if it was the night she died. It was just all so realistic, hearing it in such detail," she said.

Ms Gallagher said having her son had helped her to keep going.

"The girls absolutely doted on him. There was a bit of an age gap between them - a few years and that made him even more special to them.

"I will never fully understand why they had to do this but I know they didn't do it to hurt me or to hurt Sean James.

"They were such good girls and wherever they are now, I know that they would want Sean James to ... grow up and do as much as he can with his life," she said.

Lorraine thanked gardaí and neighbours for their support.

"Since the deaths people have been so good. No matter what happened in the past, nobody would wish what happened to my family on anyone.

"You see the real good in people when things go wrong and so many people have been so good to me," she added.

Lorraine said she still has so many questions she needs answers to, some of which were raised at the inquest.

She added that the time was perhaps not quite right now to ask them.

Irish Independent

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