Friday 19 July 2019

Grandad's fury at lack of help for tragic Erin

Erin Gallagher: death has stunned community
Erin Gallagher: death has stunned community

Mark O'Regan and Brian Hutton

THE grandfather of bullying victim Erin Gallagher has spoken of his anger that professional help wasn't there to save his granddaughter from taking her own life.

James Gallagher said the family has been left devastated since Erin's death almost two weeks ago, and appealed on the Government to introduce new anti-bullying protocols in schools.

"There are many different types of abuse, so physically you can see what happens but mentally you can't. When somebody gets mentally abused it's torture," he said.

"They'll go into their shell and go away into a corner. Nowadays it's 24/7 and they (bullies) can get you on the mobile phone and laptops.

"To me, parents don't look at that and don't know what their children are up to. At the end of the day it was too much for her and she couldn't handle it."

Since Erin's death family members have received professional help.

"These people should have been here to help Erin, not us.

"I don't want to buy a paper in the morning and see another child of 12 or 13 and see a broken-hearted mother."

The family want the Government to take steps to stem the rising tide of teen suicide.

"I want to see teachers getting more educated on bullying. I'd like to see young people being educated on abuse so that they know what abuse can lead to."

Speaking to TV3's 'MidWeek', he said he will always remember Erin as a funny and caring child. Meanwhile, Justice Minister Alan Shatter has urged cyber-bullying victims across Ireland to contact the gardai.

"I would also urge parents and other family members to support and encourage victims in doing so," he said.

Mr Shatter accepted there were some problems in bringing successful prosecutions against bullies under present legislation, the Non-fatal Offences against the Person Act.

He has asked the Law Reform Commission to make suggestions for improving the use of the current laws.

Irish Independent

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