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Sunday 22 April 2018

'Sense of disbelief' as peanut allergy schoolgirl (14) laid to rest

Emma Sloan
Emma Sloan

Conor Feehan and Mark O'Regan

Mourners at the funeral of the Dublin teenager who died after suffering a severe allergic reaction were told there was a "sense of disbelief" surrounding the circumstances of her death.

Fr David Brannagan said Emma Sloan (14), who went into anaphylactic shock after mistakenly choosing a peanut-based sauce in a restaurant, was a "vivacious young woman" and her death was a "harrowing tragedy".

Emma's funeral took place on Saturday, three days after she collapsed and died on Dublin's O'Connell Street.

Her mother, Caroline, rushed the teenager to a nearby pharmacy after Emma started having breathing difficulties during the meal out.

But the pharmacist declined to sell the EpiPen because she didn't have a prescription.

Caroline was told to bring Emma to A&E, but they only travelled a few yards when the teenager collapsed and died with her family desperately trying to help her.

Last night the grieving mother said that her daughter's last words as she collapsed to the ground were: "I'm not going to make it".

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) has begun an investigation into the schoolgirl's death and a routine garda investigation is under way.

Caroline said: "Emma should be here with us now, getting excited about Christmas, but instead we are putting her presents in a box. We'll never have Christmas again.

"Her little sister Mia will be two years old on the 28th, and she's going around, hugging photographs of her, asking where she is. It's heartbreaking."

She added: "We need answers to why this happened, to why Emma could not be given the EpiPen."

Emma's third-year classmates from Our Lady of Mercy school in Drimnagh formed a guard of honour at the schoolgirl's funeral in the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mourne Road, Drimnagh on Saturday.

More than 1,500 mourners were told that Emma's grandmother also played a big part in the teenager's life. Celebrant Fr Brannagan, speaking directly to Caroline, said few could fully comprehend her grief.

"The sense of disbelief and profound sadness is beyond words. She was a vivacious young woman," he said.

"The family have the open wounds of raw grief. There's a sense of disbelief that a family outing in a city centre restaurant could have ended in such a harrowing tragedy."

Mourners touched the coffin in a final token of respect as it was carried out of the church.

White heart-shaped balloons were released into the air by her friends, before her remains were taken to Mount Jerome crematorium.

Irish Independent

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