Donegal teenager's funeral takes place

Wednesday 31 October 2012 22.25
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Erin Gallagher had alleged she had been bullied in an online forum
Erin Gallagher had alleged she had been bullied in an online forum
Fr John Joe Duffy asked Erin's friends to talk about their feelings and care for each other
Fr John Joe Duffy asked Erin's friends to talk about their feelings and care for each other

The funeral of 13-year-old Erin Gallagher has taken place in Stranorlar, Co Donegal.

Erin took her own life last weekend after alleging she had been bullied online.

In his homily, Fr John Joe Duffyasked Erin's friends to talk about their feelings, to care for each other and to look after one another.

He implored them to tell someone if they had issues or worries in their lives.

Erin's school friends and teachers were among the mourners as the white coffin decked in flowers was carried into the church.

Gardaí investigating Erin's death have spoken to two teenagers, who presented themselves voluntarily to them.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch said "robust models" are needed in schools to teach children about the consequences of cyberbullying.

Ms Lynch said cyberbullying is a new phenomenon, which will probably pass, and something else will take its place.

But she said that unfortunately while it is at its peak tragic outcomes are being seen.

Call for mental health units in schools and colleges

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil wants all schools and colleges to have their own mental health promotion units to tackle the rate of suicide among young people.

The party launched a number of policy proposals today for mental health in education.

The proposals also recommend promoting positive mental health to pre-school children and giving mental health training to all pre-school carers and childminders.

The author of the paper, Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power, said that mental health was the most critical health issue facing young people.

Ms Power said that although the paper was a Fianna Fáil one, mental health was a non-party issue and should be treated accordingly by the Government.