'My little girl is an angel,' says father of debs tragedy teenager
The heartbroken father of a teenage girl who died after her school's debs ball says her loss has left an "irreplaceable hole" in the family's lives.
Jessica Moore (19) fell ill in the early hours of Monday at the hotel where the ball was being held.
She was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead soon after her arrival.
The "talented and artistic" teenager, from Bullaun in Loughrea, Co Galway, was due to collect her Leaving Cert exam results yesterday.
Heartfelt tributes to Jessica were led by her father, Brendan Moore.
"My little girl is now an angel," Mr Moore wrote on social media.
"There's always going to be an irreplaceable hole in our lives. Rest easy Jess, you'll never be forgotten."
Jessica's body will lie in repose this evening ahead of her funeral tomorrow at St Patrick's Church, Bullaun.
A death notice for the teenager said that she had died suddenly "to the inexpressible grief of her heartbroken parents Brendan and Catherine".
Jessica had been an outstanding student at St Raphael's College in Loughrea.
The parish priest of Bullaun, Fr Pat Kenny, described the tragic teenager as "so talented" and said that the local community's sympathies are with her family.
"Well of course our deepest sympathies are with the family," Fr Kenny told the Irish Independent.
"It is such a tragedy for something like that to happen to a beautiful daughter in every way, and someone so talented and so gifted.
"She was so committed to her life.
"And musical, and artistic. She was so talented and had such a future ahead of her.
"My deepest sympathies on behalf of the whole community are with the family, and with the school. All of the students at St Raphael's College got their results today I believe.
"And the whole community of Bullaun is devastated, because she was very active and well known as a young lady, together with her family.
"She went to school in Bullaun national school and was always an A student, a student who was very committed. She was very driven."
Gardaí are continuing their investigation into the tragedy and have spoken to a number of people who had attended the ball at Gullane's Hotel in Ballinasloe.
Jessica was taken to Portiuncula Hospital from the hotel, but nothing could be done to save her life.
A post-mortem examination was due to be completed to determine the cause of death.
Following the tragedy, gardaí also notified the local coroner.
Staff at Gullane's Hotel have said that they will not be making any comment as there is an ongoing investigation.
Local representatives from the community also expressed their sadness at the news, and expressed their condolences with the family.
Local Fianna Fáil councillor Shane Curley said that it was a "terrible situation".
"I want to pass on my sincere condolences to her family. It is a huge shock," he said.
Independent councillor for Loughrea Geraldine Donohue said: "My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this very sad time."
Other locals described Jessica as a "vibrant and talented girl" who was well-known in the town. "Everyone has been left reeling. It's heartbreaking," said one resident.