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Hard to comprehend how sick trolls could mock tragic teen Ellen Finnegan

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 23/01/2016

Mourners carry the coffin at the funeral of Ellen Finnegan
Mourners carry the coffin at the funeral of Ellen Finnegan

The grief of the community, never mind that of her father, at the tragic death of Castlewellan teenager Ellen Finnegan was amply demonstrated by the massive turnout at her funeral on Tuesday.

It was a natural reaction from those who knew and loved the young girl and who were stunned that she had been taken from them so young.

The mourners were also there to support her father, Bartley, whose wife, Nicola, had died from cancer three years to the day before the fire which engulfed Ellen’s bedroom in the family’s flat in the town.

The congregation in the church heard of the poignant last telephone call to her father on the night she died, in which she wished him a good holiday and told him she loved him.

No right-thinking person could fail to be touched by this tragedy or fail to be thankful that fate had not visited such a heart-rending loss on them.

So it is with utter astonishment and dismay that we learn — as we report elsewhere in this newspaper today — that internet trolls have vented their vile spleens on a Facebook page set up in tribute to the tragic teenager by her friends.

Incredibly, it seems that there are people lurking all round the world who deliberately seek out sites of this nature to attack.

In this case, they posted sick and disgusting comments on the site which, thankfully, was shut down after complaints were made to the PSNI.

It is impossible to comprehend the mentality of anyone who would behave in this manner. Anyone with a glimmer of humanity would never contemplate heaping abuse on a father wracked with grief.

Social media is a tool of immense power that, properly harnessed, can be a great force for good. Unfortunately, it can equally be used as a way of spreading the most grotesque messages from sick minds.

Sadly, the nature of the internet means abuse is always possible and policing the trolls is a virtually impossible task.

Belfast Telegraph

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