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Six months after sisters die bullying panel set up

SIX months after the tragic deaths of two sisters, a VEC panel to deal with bullying is being established.

Erin Gallagher (13) was found dead last October amid claims she was subjected to sustained online abuse and bullying. Her sister Shannon (15) also took her own life just weeks later.

Donegal VEC now wants to establish a board of individuals who will investigate complaints of harassment and bullying within the facility. The tender is to deal with complaints procedures for VEC staff.

It arises after the mother of Erin and Shannon revealed plans to sue Donegal VEC for negligence and breach of duty.

Last December, Lorraine Gallagher (37) instructed her solicitor to send a letter to Donegal VEC. The letter from Gallagher and Brennan Solicitors last year to the organisation refers to Erin.

"From our instructions it is quite clear that Erin Gallagher, deceased, was subjected on a weekly basis, to a persistent, prolonged, aggressive campaign of both mental and physical torture, bullying, abuse, harassment, assaults and intimidation and was afforded little, if any, protection by you, your servants and/or servants."

The solicitor outlines that the impact of this coupled with the "physical, emotional and psychological abuse" has resulted in devastating consequences for Lorraine and her family.

Solicitor Patsy Gallagher said his client also intends to take similar proceedings against the HSE in the future.

The Ballybofey mother said that she has no doubt Erin's suicide directly led to her older sister Shannon's death.

She believes her daughter should have been on suicide watch.

CEO of Donegal VEC Shaun Purcell confirmed that he received contact from Lorraine's legal team, which has been passed on to their legal representatives. He said they could not discuss legal matters at this time.

clairemurphy@herald.ie


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