Wednesday 17 January 2018

Miriam Donohoe: Loving sisters who had so much to give

THERE are no appropriate words to describe what the family of Shannon Gallagher are going through today as they try to come to terms with another devastating loss. How a mother can cope with the death by suicide of not one, but two precious young daughters, all in the space of seven weeks, is totally beyond comprehension.

Shannon was found dead yesterday. She was only 15. Her life had barely begun.

She had stood, looking shattered, beside her distraught mother, Lorraine, and brother, Sean James, at a graveside in Ballybofey, Co Donegal, a few short weeks ago to say goodbye to her 13-year-old sister, Erin, who took her own life after a prolonged period of being bullied via social media. I was struck by the picture of these beautiful girls that was released to the media at the time. Erin, with a slightly wistful expression, facing directly at the camera beside Shannon, looking sidelong into the lens as if to say: "She's my baby sister. Don't mess with her or you'll have to deal with me."

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