PEOPLE in north Kildare have been asked to become more aware of counselling services in the area following the death of Lara Gibbs-Burns (12) at the weekend.
Lara, a first-year student at Maynooth Post Primary school, died on Saturday, in an incident which is being investigated by Gardai.
It is believed the young girl took her own life.
In a statement issued on Monday, Maynooth Post Primary school principal, Johnny Nevin said: “We learned this morning of the death of one of our students, Lara Alice (Gibbs) Burns R.I.P.
“This is a terrible tragedy for Lara’s family, our school and our community. We are deeply saddened by these events. Our sympathy and thoughts are with Lara’s family and friends.
“Lara was a 1st year student and will be missed by all who knew her. We have been in contact with Lara’s family, and they have requested that we all understand their need for privacy at this difficult time.
Psychologists attended the school yesterday (Monday) to assist the children grieving the loss of their classmate.
Mr Nevin said: “Our school has implemented our Critical Incident Management Plan. Psychologists from the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS), the VEC Guidance Support Service, together with the in-school Guidance and Pastoral Care team, have engaged in supporting and advising teachers in their efforts to assist our students at this time.
“The various in-house support teams are helping students and parents to deal with the tragic event. The school will be open to parents, to support them and to offer them advice and guidance.”
The school also asked that its privacy be respected.
Fr PJ Byrne, parish priest of Kilcock and Newtown, told the Leader the the local community of Grange, Newtown and Kilcock heard with sadness and dismay the family of another young innocent person – a girl – had become the latest to have unexpected tragedy visit their door.
Fr. Byrne also said: “We would be hopeful that people would become more and more aware of counselling services now available in the community, particularly the Turas Le Cheile organisation, which serves the Kilcock, Maynooth and north Kildare area.
Fr. Byrne said he shared the concerns of parents who are “doing their best to encourage, support and give their children hope, confidence and love”.
Lara’s funeral will take place at 11am on Wednesday November 28 at Maynooth Parish Church.
Lara, of both Grange, Enfield and College Green, Maynooth, is survived by her mother Helene, father Robert, brother Brendan and stepfather Noel.
The Samaritans (samaritans.org) can be contacted at 1850 609090 (Republic of Ireland) or 08457 909090. Pieta House (pieta.ie), the centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide can be contacted at 01 6010000.