This weekend Lorraine Gallagher buried her daughter Shannon (15) who committed suicide six months after her younger sister Erin (12) also took her life, after a suspected campaign of cyber bullying. The 36-year-old Donegal mother has pleaded with the youth of Ireland, saying “suicide is not the answer.”
On Saturday, Shannon’s funeral took place at St Mary’s Church in Stranorlar, County Donegal, just six weeks after Erin’s funeral took place in the same location.
Their mother has spoken out saying she never wants another mother or father to go through what their family from Ballybofey, Donegal, have gone through in the past few weeks.
She told the Irish Times, “I am just numb and I don’t know what to think or say at this time. I know nothing can bring my girls back.
“But I did see the looks on the faces of Shannon’s and Erin’s friends and they are going through so much too.
“I want them to know that suicide is not the answer to whatever hurt and pain they are going through.
“There is another way and there are people there to listen. Whatever it is, we can sort it out,” she said.
Although she feels empty and lifeless she said she knows she has to carry on for her son Seán James (4).
“Seán James was the centre of Erin’s and Shannon’s lives. They lived for him.
“I know they are looking down now and protecting us. I know they are willing me to be strong so he can have the best life possible now,” she said.
Speaking at Shannon’s funeral on Saturday, Father Joe Duffy said society had failed the Gallagher sisters.
He said, “Two sisters within two months and that is a most damning indictment for any society evidenced by the second white coffin that is before this altar within two short months, 45 days ago to be exact.
“My heart is devastated, my heart is shattered at how poorly we understand the issues concerning youth mental health and mental health issues in the general population in Ireland.
“I am now calling upon someone in Government to take a hands-on role and to do what it takes. Whatever that is to combat what is the most serious problem affecting our country and so many of our families and communities with such devastating consequences.”
He continued, “The time for talking is over. For the sake of all people on the margins or in similar circumstances, for the love of God let some one person in Government take leadership and reform what is clearly a broken system.”