A teenager who died after becoming unwell at a Debs dance has been described as a “vibrant and talented girl”.
Jessica Moore (19), from Loughrea, Co Galway, passed away after falling ill at the event in Ballinasloe. Emergency services were alerted to Gullane’s Hotel where the Debs ball was taking place at around 2am yesterday.
The teenager, who was due to collect her Leaving Cert results today, was treated at the scene and transferred to Portiuncula Hospital, but she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Local gardaí are now investigating the circumstances surrounding Ms Moore’s death and are awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination to determine the course of their investigation.
A death notice for the teenager stated that she died suddenly “to the inexpressible grief of her heartbroken parents Brendan and Catherine”.
She is also survived by her brother and sister, grandparents as well as her wider and extended family, and her “many, many friends”.
A funeral Mass will take place on Thursday at 1pm in St Patrick’s Church, Bullaun.
Sources said that other students who were present at the event would be spoken to in an effort to shed light on the hours leading up to Ms Moore taking ill.
“This is a sensitive case involving young people and will be handled in a delicate manner by gardaí. The post-mortem examination will take place to determine the exact cause of death,” a source said.
The Ballyara community and people in the wider area of Loughrea, where the young woman lived with her family, are now mourning her sudden and tragic passing.
Yesterday at St Raphael’s College, where Ms Moore was a student, a memorial with her picture surrounded by several candles was placed in the school’s hallway.
Principal Paul Cafferky said that the school’s thoughts and prayers were with her family and friends, but did not wish to comment any further at this time.
Local representatives from the community also expressed their sadness at the news, and expressed their condolences with Ms Moore’s family. Local Fianna Fáil councillor Shane Curley said that it was a “terrible situation”.
“I want to pass on my sincere condolences to her family. It is a huge shock,” he said.
Independent councillor for Loughrea Geraldine Donohue said: “My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this very sad time.”
Gardaí in Ballinasloe are carrying out inquiries into the sudden death.
A member of staff at Gullane’s Hotel, where the tragedy occurred, said that they would not be making any comment as there is an investigation ongoing.
Other local sources have described the young woman as a “vibrant and talented girl” who was well-known in the town. “Everyone has been left reeling. It’s heartbreaking,” said a local resident.