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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Mother of tragic suicide sisters plans to sue school authority

Stephen Maguire

THE mother of tragic sisters Erin and Shannon Gallagher is planning to launch legal proceedings against education authorities and the HSE.

Shaun Purcell, CEO of Donegal Vocational Education Committee, confirmed they have received contact from Lorraine Gallagher's legal team which they have passed on to their legal representatives.

Meanwhile, Mrs Gallagher spoke of her hurt and anguish at the chain of events which led to the deaths of her two daughters.

Mrs Gallagher (36) has threatened to launch legal proceedings against Donegal VEC for negligence and breach of duty.


A letter on behalf of Mrs Gallagher was sent to Donegal VEC by Gallagher & Brennan Solicitors on December 4 -- days before Erin's older sister took her own life.

Shannon (15) was also found dead last week, less than two months after Erin (13) died amid claims she had been repeatedly bullied.

Speaking last night, Mrs Gallagher said she is angry and numb at the deaths of her two daughters.Mrs Gallagher said she has no doubt that Erin's suicide directly led to Shannon's death – adding that her eldest daughter's personality completely changed when Erin died.

"It was as if she became a different person overnight. She completely changed as a person. She would answer back and didn't care about anything."

But she said she knew the moment gardai called to her door after 2am on Thursday last that something dreadful had happened to Shannon.

"I knew straight away that Shannon had, or had tried to, take her own life.

"I knew she couldn't live without Erin and I knew she felt responsible for her. They were sisters, but they were also best friends," she said.

"I knew Shannon couldn't go on without Erin."

She will try and make it as normal a Christmas as possible for her remaining child, Sean James, who is just four years old.

"He knows Erin is dead, but he does not know that Shannon is. It would be too much to take in. I will tell him in time.

"The girls loved every hair on Sean James's head and they all loved Christmas."

Solicitor Patsy Gallagher said last night that his office has still not received a reply to the letter sent to Donegal VEC.

He said that he intends to take similar proceedings against the HSE at a future stage.

But Mr Purcell of Donegal VEC said: "Our energies are going into helping the people who need our support at present.

"Of course we have sympathy for the Gallagher family, but we cannot speak about a legal issue at this time," he said.

Irish Independent

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