first_imgShannon Gallagher has been buried amidst heartbreaking scenes.The 15 year old took her own life just six weeks after her younger sister Erin, 13, also died by suicide.Hundreds of people packed into St Mary’s Church in Stranorlar as they did just weeks ago for another heartbreaking final farewell to a young student. Fr John Joe Duffy castigated the Government and the authorities for failing to stop Shannon Gallagher from taking her own life.Fr Duffy delivered a damning homily as he conducted the funeral mass for the 15 year old schoolgirl, just six weeks after he buried her sister Erin, 13.Both sisters were found dead after taking their own lives.Hundreds of people gathered at St Mary’s Church in Stranorlar, Co Donegal for the funeral mass yesterday (SAT) morning. Shannon’s devastated mother Lorraine, 36, had to be helped into the church by her father Seamus.Fr Duffy said Erin’s death should have being a dawn for change, a new beginning, when agencies, support groups, professionals and those charged with the care of children should have realised that the course and the path that they were on, in responding to and dealing with these issues was simply not enough.“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 withintwo 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. And the terrible consequences we see occurring and reoccurring on a regular basis though out the country. “The systems and methodologies in place and used by the HSE and other agencies and professionals dealing with these cases simply does not work. We are failing to protect the most fragile and most vulnerable children in our society.“We are failing to bring in the children, young people and most vulnerable adults on the margins of our society to the safety of thecentre where they ought to find support, comfort, and safety.“The systems and approach need to be radically improved, to be completely overhauled and to be more responsive so that they have a relevance and are fit for purpose in the modern world.“Hiding behind professionalism and qualifications or the inertia of being able to change rules, legislation or regulations is simply not acceptable, when so many lives getting younger have being tragically and needlessly lost.“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.“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 oneperson in Government take leadership and reform what is clearly a broken system,” he slammed.Shannon’s remains were brought into the church by members of her beloved Twin Towns Boxing Club of which she had won both county and Ulster titles for.A picture of the Finn Valley College student in the boxing ring awaiting her hand to be raised after winning a bout sat proudly on top of her white coffin.Her heartbroken school-friends heard how Shannon was loved by all and had excelled in school, especially at Irish.She loved Gaelic football, soccer and had even given up playing rugby to concentrate on boxing.Many young people had to leave the church as they broke down in tears as memories flowed back of times spent with Shannon.Fr Duffy also appealed to young people not to suffer in silence if they are worried or may even have suicidal thoughts after Shannon and Erin’s deaths.“This has being a trying time for you.The pain you are experiencing now will be different for each one of you. You may ask questions could you have helped her in a different way. The answer is simply No. You did everything you could possibly do for Shannon. You comforted her in so many ways.“While in life you all face many pressures today and sometimes you may feel that no one understands you or cares about you. If you feel that you have little hope of things improving for you, or that you havethought of or self harmed in any way or thought about suicide .“Then please, please talk to somene. I do not know of anyone who can read our minds: parents, teachers and friends may think they know what is going on, but they can’t really know unless you tell them.“Talking about something will not make it happen. It will help for a problem shared is a problem halved.“Do not bottle your feelings up. Talking about them will not increasethe hurt but a burden shared becomes lighter. In fact, this advice applies to everyone, no matter what age you are – share your feelings and do not let them eat you alive. There are people who care and people who can help. Shannon’ s death is a great shock for you. As I said before, you may feel overwhelmed by your feelings, which will possibly be one or many. On the other hand, you may not have a strong reaction to what has happened. No two of us feel the same. It is okay to ask questions, such as, Why? Be patient with yourselves and allow yourselves to grieve. Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings with parents, teachers, to your doctor, to the people in your clubs, to those professionals helping out in your schools at this time, to me orone your own priests. I am asking you as young people to continue to care for one another, to be kind to one another, to be there for oneanother – support each other. Call the different organisations: HSE Helpline, Now Doc, or Childline, Samaritans,, the Gardaí, there are cards in the Church entrances forDonegal Links and the church notice boards have helpline numbers.“I am saying to everyone here today that suicide is an unnecessary solution to the problems and trials of life. These problems that weface are only temporary and they do ease and pass away with help and in time. Suicide takes place around one grief to add even furthergrief for family and friends and whole communities. Suicide is never asolution,” he said.As Shannon’s remains were led from the church for burial in Castlefin Cemetery several miles away, tearful friends stood beside her coffin and released pink balloons – just as they did a few short weeks ago for her sister Erin.SHANNON GALLAGHER BURIED AMID HEARTBREAKING SCENES was last modified: December 16th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more