Family of missing Irish teacher (21) share the 'heartbreaking news' of her death
'She was a lovely girl, a warm, affectionate girl. She was a great fiddle player with a great background in trad music, a lovely singer'
The family of missing Irish teacher Eimear Noonan have confirmed the "heartbreaking news" that the 21-year-old has died.
The UCC graduate from Clare had been missing from her home in the French town of Annonay, France since Wednesday.
Concerns for her whereabouts were raised when she failed to turn up for work as a teaching assistant in a local school.
Her family had travelled to Lyon, a city north of Annonay, to assist in the search for Eimear while friends and relatives in Ireland appealed for help on social media.
On Sunday night, Eimear's brother Cathal took to Facebook to share the news that "our beloved Eimear died following a fall while running".
Eimear had celebrated her 21st birthday in April and had been living in Annonay since September where she worked as an English language teacher.
Cathal said that his sister will be greatly missed by all who knew her, especially her parents Flan and Mary, her brothers Declan, Michael and Cathal and all her family and friends.
"Eimear was a warm, bubbly person who had already made a wide circle of friends there through her love of music and singing. She graduated last month from UCC with an honours degree in Irish and French, was a talented violinist and to our immense pride was head of UCC orchestra for her final year there," he wrote.
He also said that the family "will be forever grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received in recent days".
"We would like to thank the Irish and French authorities and the people of Annonay for the kindness and compassion they have shown us. We now appeal for privacy in this most difficult time as we bring Eimear home to her beloved Lough Graney and start the journey of grieving," he said.
Parish priest Fr Joe McMahon described the 21-year-old as a "warm, affectionate girl" who "loved France".
He told independent.ie: "It’s awfully sad. It’s going to be a long drawn-out thing. I don’t know how long matters will take in France.
"She was a lovely girl, a warm, affectionate girl. She was a great fiddle player with a great background in trad music, a lovely singer. She was a very warm person to old and young.
"When I last met her she was playing with the choir in church. She wouldn’t be around much but when she was home she would be involved.
"She loved France and the whole family do. They go there a good bit."