Tragic death of Donegal teenager told today at inquest

The late Erin and Shannon Gallagher.


A fifteen year old girl from Ballybofey wrote her mother a note to say how proud she was of her hours before taking her own life, an inquest in Letterkenny heard today. 


Shannon Gallagher, a Finn Valley School student, was pronounced dead in the early hours of December 13th, 2012 just six weeks after her younger sister Erin, 13, died  by the same tragic cause. 

Shannon had been living in voluntary foster care for twelve days prior to her death, following a number of weeks of distress, grief and arguements with her mother, Lorraine Gallagher at their home in Ballybofey.  She had moved in with foster parents Karen and Gerard Doherty in their home in Castlefinn on November 30th, 2012. 

The Coroners Court sitting at Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny, heard that Karen Doherty said she found it strange that Shannon hadn’t came up to the kitchen for her routine cup of tea before bed, like she did every other night around 10:15pm. She told the court she thought she would give her some space as earlier Shannon had been wrapping Christmas presents for her Mother and younger brother Sean, and went to check on her around 11:40pm. 

Shannon was found lifeless in her bedroom by Karen and Gerard, who performed CPR until emergency services arrived on the scene. she was pronounced dead at 00:33am. 

Prior to her death, Karen described Shannon like any other teenager and said she was very good and fitted in well with her younger son. Several witnesses gave evidence in today’s hearing and stated that while Shannon was going through a difficult time and was under super vision of a social worker, she was said to be presenting well and showed no signs of taking her own life on the day in question. 

A jury of six men and six women agreed with Coroner Dr Denis McCauley’s findings and after a unanimous decision that Shannon’s death was caused by suicide. 

For full inquest details, see Friday’s edition of the Donegal News. 


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