Mother says suicide not the answer


Lorraine Gallagher, the Co Donegal mother who has lost two of her children to suicide, has pleaded to young people to come forward and speak about their hurt if they are feeling low.

Shannon Gallagher (15) was buried on Saturday after funeral Mass at St Mary’s Church in Stranorlar, just weeks after sister Erin (13) had died.

Last night Ms Gallagher said she never wanted any mother or father to go through what she has gone through in recent weeks.

“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.

Ms Gallagher (36) said she felt empty and lifeless at the moment but knew she had 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.

Hundreds of mourners attended Shannon’s funeral on Saturday.

Boxing club

Her remains were carried into the church by members of the Twin Towns Boxing Club of which Shannon was a leading member and for which she had won Ulster titles. A picture of the Finn Valley College student in the boxing ring sat on top of her white coffin.

Mourners heard how Shannon had excelled at school and especially at Irish. She loved Gaelic football, soccer and Irish dancing and had even given up rugby to concentrate more on boxing.

In his homily, local priest Fr John Joe Duffy said society had failed the two girls. He said Erin’s death should have been a dawn of change for agencies and support groups but it was not. “Society has failed two children, 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.”