County Donegal Vocational Educational Committee (VEC), has issued a statement today in relation to recent media coverage of the death of Erin Gallagher.
The 13-year-old from Ballybofey died tragically nine days ago. Her death has been linked to reports of bullying, both verbal and physical, and bullying through a social networking site.
Today’s statement from Shaun Purcell, Chief Executive Officer of Co. Donegal VEC, reads as follows.
“Following on public comments and private expression of concern and sympathy made on behalf of Finn Valley College, Co. Donegal VEC wishes to formally extend its sympathies to the family and friends of Erin Gallagher, RIP. We acknowledge that in the circumstances, emotions are very raw and everyone will be looking for answers. This is a very challenging time also for the students, parents and staff of Finn Valley College.
“Understandably, the media have been very proactive in exploring local concerns and issues of a wider context that have been sparked by these events.
“Co. Donegal VEC wishes to state that the safety and welfare of its students are at the core of its policies and procedures.
“Over the last week, Co. Donegal VEC has discussed the issues surrounding the events leading up to the untimely death of Erin Gallagher.
“Co. Donegal VEC wishes to confirm that the management and staff of Finn Valley College acted at all times with regard to the welfare of the students.
“The committee also wishes to acknowledge the care with which the staff and co-operating agencies carried out their duties following this tragic event.
“It is important that the school and community be allowed time to grieve and readjust to every day routine. There are many raw emotions and feelings both in the school and in the community and we would hope that the press and media will appreciate the need for space to enable the appropriate agencies and personnel to provide support at this difficult time with due regard to the safety and welfare of all.
“Finn Valley College will continue to provide high quality education in a caring and positive environment.”