herald

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Tragic Laura (15) was on holiday to celebrate end of her Junior Cert exams

Schoolgirl Laura Dempsey
Schoolgirl Laura Dempsey

A schoolgirl who drowned in a swimming pool in Crete had been celebrating the end of her Junior Certificate exams.

Flags flew at half-mast at Greystones Sailing Club yesterday in tribute to Laura Dempsey, who was an active member of the junior sailing groups at the club.

The popular 15-year-old from Greystones, Co Wicklow, was found unconscious in a hotel swimming pool on the Greek island on Sunday afternoon.

Sympathy

Frantic efforts were made to resuscitate her but she was later pronounced dead.

Laura had just completed her Junior Certificate examinations and was enjoying a holiday in the Stalida resort with her parents John Dempsey and Nicola Smith.

She was a pupil of Temple Carrig Church of Ireland Secondary School in Greystones.

The patron of the school, Archbishop of Dublin Dr Michael Jackson, offered his sympathy to Laura's family.

"It was with deep sadness that I heard of the death of Laura Dempsey at the weekend," he said in a statement issued yesterday.

"To her family, we extend our sincere sympathies and pray that they know God's strength in their heartache and devastating loss.

"Laura was a third year student in Temple Carrig School, Greystones, of which I am patron, and had just completed her Junior Certificate exams.

"We hold Laura's friends and the whole school community in our thoughts and hearts as they struggle to come to terms with their loss.

"We also pray for the principal, teachers, chaplain and staff of the school as they support the students in their grief," he added.

A Greek police officer told the Herald yesterday that an investigation into the tragedy was ongoing.

A report on Laura's death was being compiled for the authorities by a forensic doctor.

She been taken to a local hospital following the tragedy and an autopsy had been scheduled.

Last night, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that officials based at the Irish embassy in Athens were involved in providing consular assistance to the grieving family.

Stalida, also known as Stalis, is a beach resort midway between the towns of Malia and Hersonissos. It is popular with Irish holidaymakers.

Greystones Sailing Club's commodore, Daragh Cafferky, previously said that the family, friends and fellow club members were devastated by the news of Laura's death.

"She was a really enthusiastic sailor", and the loss of a girl as young as Laura was "particularly tragic", he said.

Sadness

The "tragic death of one of our young and valued juniors" has been greeted with "extraordinary sadness".

"A bright light has been extinguished and it is beyond words to express the grief we all feel for our friends Nicky and John," he added.

Wicklow County Council members have also expressed their sadness and said the community was united in grief at Laura's death.

Jennifer Whitmore, Cathaoirleach of Greystones Municipal District, and Leas-Cathaoirleach Gerry Walsh said Laura was a "devastating loss".

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