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Tributes paid to ‘beautifully talented’ schoolgirl Lara (12) after suicide

TRAGIC schoolgirl Lara Burns Gibbs was a child who had so much to live for, family and friends said today. Her devastated family waked the 12-year-old in her home today as tributes continue to be paid to the schoolgirl.

Parish priest Fr PJ Byrne echoed the community’s heartache and distress asking: “What is going on? What is bothering our children that we don’t know?” as Lara became the third young girl who took her own life in recent weeks.

“Lara had a loving family, she had hobbies. It is just absolutely tragic. She was just a child with so much to life to live,” he said.

“She was young and had her whole life ahead of her. She was a beautifully talented young girl who had the world at her feet,” Lara’s aunt Jeanette Rich said.

“Our whole family is devastated and don’t want it to happen to anybody else’s family.”

Tribute websites set up in memory of the young girl, who was only three months into her first year in secondary school, have been inundated with messages and condolences.

Some concerns have been raised that like Erin Gallagher (13) from Donegal and Ciara Pugsley (15) from Co Leitrim, Lara was another victim on online bullying.

Gardai, however, have said they have not received any complaint in relation to this.

Lara’s death last Friday had led Ciara Pugsley’s father to demand that politicians take “urgent action” to prevent more deaths among young people.

“My heart goes out to the Burns family because I know what they are going through. The time for talking is over. We need urgent action now and urgent policies to prevent further deaths,” he said.

A family friend described the 12-year-old as a lovely young girl who was mad about horses, rock music and fashion and the hens who were kept in the yard alongside the family home.

He said her death had come “totally out of the blue” and they had not had any indication that anything was amiss.

Today a steady stream of neighbours, friends and relatives called to the family home outside Kilcock, where they moved from Maynooth a couple of years ago.

Lara’s parents Helene and Robert, stepfather Noel and older brother Brendan have asked that instead of flowers at her funeral tomorrow, donations should be made to Pieta House in Lucan which helps people struggling with thoughts of suicide.

Lara was a first year student at Maynooth Post Primary School and her classmates are now being offered counselling.

School principal Johnny Nevin said psychologists were working with the school’s own guidance and pastoral care team to help students.

“This is a terrible tragedy for Lara’s family, our school and our community. We are deeply saddened by these events. Our sympathy and thoughts are with Lara’s family and friends.”

Lara will be buried tomorrow in Laraghbryan Cemetery after 11 o’clock Requiem Mass at St Mary’s Church in Maynooth.