HUNDREDS of mourners have attended the funeral of 13-year-old Erin Gallagher who took her own life on Saturday night.
For months, Erin had been the victim of bullying, much of which took place on online social networking sites.
As her friends formed a guard of honour, a white coffin bearing the remains of the Finn Valley College student was carried into the Church of St Mary Immaculate, Stranorlar, for Requiem Mass at 11am.
The shock and disbelief at the situation they found themselves in was evident on the tear stained faces of Erin’s heartbroken family and friends who could not contain their grief.
Her distraught family, mother Lorraine, sister Shannon and brother Sean were supported by other family members and friends.
Requiem Mass was celebrated by Curate Fr John Joe Duffy. In a strongly-worded sermon, Fr Duffy said that society had failed Erin.
He questioned the level of resources available for dealing with bullying and criticised the failure to monitor and ban controversial websites.
“I am asking all agencies and arms of the State who are responsible for the care of children to finally come together and formulate a comprehensive policy of prevention and support; of helping individuals so that this day will never have to dawn on another parent or family in this country again,” said the priest.
“This is the challenge we as a society now face. We are only here today because society has failed Erin Gallagher.”
He said that the “authorities may hide behind technical and other difficulties but these sites can be regulated and they must be regulated.”
He went on: “This is not the first tragedy, but let it be the last but it
As the coffin was removed from the chapel again Erin’s friends formed a guard of honour, many of them holding pink balloons which were released into the air as the funeral procession made its way to Castlefin for a private burial.