Family devastated after 13-year-old Donegal girl commits suicide due to vicious online bullying
Second teen in six weeks to kill themselves after using Ask.fm and suffering relentless bullying
Erin Gallagher (13) from Ballybofey, County Donegal, committed suicide last weekend having been bullied online, relentlessly, according to her family.
Relatives of the teen found her body on Saturday. She had previously confided in them about the cyber bullying and just 24 hours before she carried out the grievous act told her online tormentors that should would take her own life.
The gardai (police) have launched an investigation into the young girl’s death.
Gallagher’s relatives were too distraught to speak to the Irish Independent newspaper. Her sister, Shannon, left a message on her Facebook page which read, “I love you darling. It's so hard to say you're gone. Everyone's heartbroken. I couldn't have asked for a better sister. You were a stunning girl. No one deserved what you went through.
"I'm sorry that I couldn't prevent it. Love you with all my heart."
The 13-year-old had been using the online message board Ask.fm.
Ciara Pugsley (15) from Dromahair, County Leitrim, committed suicide six weeks ago. She had also been using the same message board site, Ask.fm. Ciara had also been bombarded with hate messages on the social networking site. Her father, Jonathan, said he is “completely devastated” that another Irish teen had taken her life.
"I am devastated that a 13-year-old girl has taken her own life after being on Ask.fm," the 46-year-old said, speaking to the Irish Independent.
"My heart goes out to her family. I know exactly what they are going through. It is outrageous that this is happening to another young teenager. I'm devastated for that family and heartbroken again.
"Something has to be done about this ask.fm website where people can go online and torment young people.
"Suicide is a taboo subject because of its very nature and we have to change that if we are going to do anything about it.
"Politicians are doing nothing. They must do something about safety for children online."
On Friday, the day before Gallagher committed suicide, she responded to a post which referred to a physical attack in which she’d had her hair pulled.
Gallagher wrote back, “Do u think ur funny bulling me over ask.fm yeah u prob think it was funny when a f**in put a rope round my neck cause of yous, yous are that sad!
"Leave it now u had ur f**in fun get over it! My hair wasnt all over the ground trust me plus stop going round saying a got a bald patch I had or have no bald patch!"
Gallagher killed herself less than 24 hours later.
She lived with her mother, Laura, and her elder sister, Shannon, on the Silverwood estate in Ballybofey. She was a second-year pupil at the Finn Valley College, in Stranorlar.
Principal of her school, Frank Dooley, said, “The pupils and the staff at the school are very upset at Erin's untimely death and we want to pass on our deepest sympathies to her family.
"We are putting procedures in place to deal with this tragedy.
"Erin was a lovely girl, a very good pupil, who was very mannerly and pleasant in the classroom.
"I would appeal to parents to caution their children about comments they may make on the internet."
After the death of Ciara Pugsley, Ask.fm founder Mark Terebin told RTE, “We do understand the gravity of the situation and I sympathise with Ciara Pugsley's family.
"Of course there is a problem with cyber bullying in social media.
"But, as far as we can see, we only have this situation in Ireland and the UK most of all, trust me.
"There are no complaints regarding cyber bullying from parents, children or other sources in other countries.
"It seems like children are more cruel in these countries (Ireland and the UK)."
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