The mother of suicide sisters Erin and Shannon Gallagher is to take legal action against the school authorities in Donegal.
Speaking just 28 hours after she buried her 15-year-old daughter Shannon, Lorraine Gallagher confirmed the action.
She is to sue the authorities over their failure to intervene when youngest daughter Erin first attempted suicide months before she took her own life.
Erin Gallagher was just 13 when she was found dead last October amid claims that she had been repeatedly bullied. Elder sister Shannon took her own life six weeks later.
Lorraine Gallagher told the paper that she is launching the legal challenge to find answers as to why more was not done to help Erin.
Accompanied by her solicitor Patsy Gallagher, Lorraine Gallagher confirmed that she has started legal proceedings against Donegal Vocational Education Committee for negligence and breach of duty.
The report says a letter on her behalf was sent to Donegal VEC by Gallagher Brennan Solicitors on December 4th, just days before Erin’s older sister Shannon took her own life.
The VEC has yet to reply to the letter which refers directly to Erin’s suicide.
The letter states: “The aforementioned intended action arises because of negligence, breach of duty, including breach of statutory duty by you, your servants and/or agents, in the administration, supervision, control, management, running and operation of Finn Valley College and your duty of care to create and provide a safe, supervised, monitored, controlled working environment for all students attending this school.
“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 agents.
“The impact of this, coupled with the physical, emotional and psychological abuse has resulted in devastating consequences for Mrs Gallagher and her family.”
Lorraine Gallagher told the Irish Times that she is angry and numb at the deaths of her two daughters.
She also claimed that all the warning signs were there for school authorities and the HSE to protect her children but the system failed them.
She stated: “Erin went from being a great student who regularly got As to a withdrawn student who got zero per cent in one of her last exams before she died. All the signs were there and not enough was done to protect her.”Gallagher also revealed that her youngest daughter tried to take her life within her school, Finn Valley College, a number of weeks before she was found dead at home.
Lorraine added: “She tried to take her own life and yet she was allowed to walk home from school that day. That school failed her. They knew she was vulnerable. How could they allow her to walk home?
“I have no doubt that Erin’s suicide directly led to her older sister Shannon’s death. It was as if she became a different person overnight. She completely changed as a person. She would answer back and didn’t care about anything. She was also self-harming.”
The report also reveals that Shannon was admitted to voluntary care with a foster family with Lorraine Gallagher’s consent as the family struggled to cope with Erin’s death.
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