The body of Elisha Gault, 14, was laid to rest today as hundreds of white roses were tossed in the River Suir in her honor.
Young people attending the funeral of 14-year-old Elisha Gault, whose body was discovered in the River Suir after an eight-day hunt, were warned to pay close attention to their “real-life friends” and their mental health.
After going missing on St. Patrick’s Day, Elisha’s heartbroken parents Gráinne and Cameron, and her sisters, Chloe, Bhrianna and Saoirse, joined with hundreds of mourners at the teen's funeral in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary, stopping at the last spot she was seen alive, Dillon Bridge, to lay hundreds of white roses in her honor.
"Today, boys and girls, I would encourage you to form a support network around yourselves," said Fr Paschal Moore to the many youngsters present.
"I would encourage you also to turn off your iPhone every now and again.
"Facebook is wonderful at times - and people boast about how many friends they have on Facebook.
"But your friends on Facebook are artificial friends - what you need are real people around you. Real, genuine, loving and caring people and I would encourage every single one of you to find a real good support network for yourselves.
"Your mind does matter - your mind is so important."
"The family this morning are experiencing searing sadness and grief. Elisha's death has given rise to many emotions - emotions the family and community have experienced over the past few days (including) disbelief, shock, anger, guilt even abandonment,” he continued.
"Elisha's death has raised many questions - but hasn't given many answers.”
He added that he hoped Elisha was now at peace as the community struggles to come to terms with her tragic death.
"Elisha's outward appearance and behavior were masked by a cloud of hopelessness within,” he added.
"She felt trapped - she was a prisoner of her feelings and her thoughts which weighed heavily on her.
"She was in turmoil - a turmoil we will never appreciate or understand.
"Elisha, she took the only route she felt she could take. Not the right route, not the right choice - but it was the only route that she felt she could take.
"Her actions have left her family, her community, her school friends devastated and completely, utterly upset and confused.
"We commend beautiful Elisha to God's loving embrace - we pray that she is at peace today."
The young people present were asked to take a special leaflet as they left the church entitled "My Support Network,” which encourages them to create a supportive community for themselves.
"To her schoolmates and her friends, we all have our worries, stresses, and anxieties - stress can be good for us but the problem arises when anxiety takes over every moment of our lives,” said Father Moore.
"We all need support - from the oldest to the youngest of us. We need people who will listen, people who will talk to us and people who will be a shoulder to lean on."
Her mother Gráinne also spoke at the funeral, saying there was a hole in her life that could now never be filled.
"My gorgeous, beautiful Elisha had a genuine soul but she was a troubled girl for reasons I won't discuss at this moment in time," she said.
"She had a very loving family, friends and Edge Youth Club who (had) done their utmost to heal and support her but unfortunately we were not successful."
"I have a hole in my heart that will never be filled - she (Elisha) was her own person and I just wish we had the answer that could have gave her inner strength."
Gardaí stressed that Elisha's death is being treated as a tragedy.
Anyone struggling to cope with suicide can call the Samaritans on their free 24-hour helpline 116 123 in Ireland or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 in the US.