Speaking at inquest ‘just like reliving Erin’s death’

The mother of Erin Gallagher said giving evidence at her daughter’s inquest was like reliving her death.

Lorraine Gallagher told how just hours after speaking to her 13-year-old daughter, she found her dead at the family home in Co Donegal.

An inquest into Erin’s death held in Letterkenny this week found that the Ballybofey teenager died as a result of taking her own life in October 2012.

Her mother returned from working in a local department store at 6pm to find her youngest daughter dead. She tried desperately to save Erin, along with valiant attempts by two neighbours to administer CPR.

She said yesterday, sitting and listening about her daughter’s life and death was like reliving her nightmare.

“To be honest, it was all just a blur those few days. Finding Erin in the house like that is something I just hope no other parent has to ever go through.

“Erin was in such good form that afternoon when herself and Sean James (Erin’s brother) called in to see me at work. There was no warning.

“I just couldn’t understand how that was it — that I would never speak to her again, to be able to hug her or joke with her.

“Giving evidence and speaking in front of everyone again was just like reliving it all. I listened to the words and I could see Erin in front of me again as if it was the night she died.

“It was just all so realistic, hearing it in such detail,” said Mrs Gallagher.

The mother found her daughter at their home at Silverwood, Ballybofey, in darkness when she arrived home at 6pm, and told how little Sean James, then just 3, thought Erin was just sleeping.

She sobbed as the statement was read into the record of the inquest by Garda Superintendent David Kelly. She specifically thanked Supt Kelly and Garda Detective Tom Ward and her solicitor Patsy Gallagher for their support.

Her eldest daughter Shannon, aged 15, died a few weeks later.

She said people have been so good to her in the wake of Erin and Shannon’s death, and she is trying her best to get on with her life.

“I will never full understand why they had to do this, but I know they didn’t do it to hurt me or to hurt Sean James.

“They were such good girls and wherever they are now, I now that they would want Sean James to want for nothing and for him to grow up and do as much as he can with his life,” she said.

Mrs Gallagher was joined at the inquest by many of her neighbours and friends whom she said she will never be able to thank enough for their understanding, compassion and support.

“Since the deaths, people have been so good. No matter what happened in the past, nobody would wish what happened to my family on anyone.”


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