The news that a 13 year old girl from Ballybofey, Co Donegal took her own life last Saturday as a result of bullying has reignited the urgent need for a solution to the growing cyber bullying issue.
Erin Gallagher took her own life at the weekend and Gardai are now investigating claims that the teenager was bullied online and physically attacked in the period leading up to last Saturday.
The shocking death comes just six weeks after Ciara Pugsley died near her home in Dromahair on September 19, cyber bullying was found to be the main reason for her tragic end.
Following Ciara’s death many organisations called for Ask.fm to be closed down and for greater sanctions to be imposed online, her father Jonathan Pugsley had sought for the removal of all anonymous postings online.
But Ask.fm remains open and no changes have been recorded on the site. In a post last Friday, the day before her death Erin wrote to her anonymous tormentors last week, saying “Do u think ur funny bulling me over ask.fm yeah u prob think it was funny when a f**in put a rope round my neck cause of yous, yous are that sad!” Her posts also suggested that she was a victim of physical abuse by bullies.
Ciara Pugsley’s father had spoken out after his daughter’s death and pleaded with young people “Just don’t do it, your family and your friends need you.”
Erin Gallagher was a second-year pupil at Finn Valley College in Stranorlar, Co Donegal. In a Facebook tribute to her sister, Shannon Gallagher wrote: “I love you darling. It’s so hard to say you’re gone. Everyone’s heartbroken. I couldn’t have asked for a better sister. You were a stunning girl. No one deserved what you went through.” “I’m sorry that I couldn’t prevent it. Love you with all my heart.”
A Facebook tribute page honouring Erin Gallagher has already attracted over 2,000 people with calls to hold charity runs in her name and the banning of a website linked to the 13-year-old’s death.
Console and Spunout.ie are advising anyone affected by cyber bullying not to respond to any bullying and to seek help immediately.
Console 24-hour helpline on freephone 1800 201890, text ‘help’ to 51444 for one to one support or contact us on www.console.ie.
A new factual programme ‘Bullyproof’ was aired on on RTE One last night (Tuesday, October 30) in reaction to the increase of bullying in Ireland.