Pupils 'in shock' after suicides
Pupils and staff at two schools in west Belfast are in shock after two children took their own lives.
The unconnected deaths of eleven-year-old Ciara Doherty from the Mount Eagles estate, and Martin Rooney, 13, from nearby Twinbrook, has plunged an entire community into grief and left family and friends struggling for answers.
They are the latest in a worrying spate of young suicides in the area over recent years, but the age of the two children, who died within 24 hours of each other, has intensified the bewilderment.
Counselling services to young people in the area have now been extended amid fears of further tragedies.
Martin Rooney, a talented footballer who captained his local team Glendowan FC and attended St Colm's High School, was laid to rest by his devastated family after a funeral service at St Luke's parish church. He died in the Royal Victoria Hospital on Thursday.
Ciara, a pupil of St Louise's College, was found dead at her home on Friday night.
Her school principal Carmel McCartan said her death had shocked everyone.
"Ciara was a very kind, gifted, intelligent girl who was full of life and extremely popular with pupils and staff alike," she said.
Principal at St Colm's Imelda Jordan said Martin's death had saddened the whole school community.
"He was a very popular boy with a large friendship group because of his outgoing and friendly personality," she said.