*The late Aoife Johnston. 

SHANNON TOWN HAS BEEN PLUNGED INTO sadness with the sudden death of sixteen year old Aoife Johnston.

A Leaving Certificate student at St Caimin’s Community School, Aoife was in school as recently as Friday before she became very unwell on Saturday with bacterial meningitis.

She died on Monday in University Hospital Limerick and leaves behind a heartbroken family including her parents James and Carol, sisters Meagan and Kate, grandparents Jimmy and Evelyn, boyfriend Cillian, aunts, uncles, cousins, the extended Johnston and McCoy families, neighbours and a wide circle of friends.

From Cronan Lawn in Shannon, she worked in Mentor Graphics over the summer months and was in the midst of preparing for her State Examinations. She was a past pupil of St Conaire’s NS.

Described by those who knew her best as a kind-hearted, beautiful and brave, Aoife was immensely popular within the town of Shannon, most notably among her peers at St Caimin’s, a school previously attended by her parents and two sisters.

Offers of support have been pouring into the school community since word of Aoife’s death began filtering around the town with the town rallying behind the Johnston and McCoy families at this very difficult time.

A critical incident management plan has been implemented in St Caimin’s with teachers assisting students to deal with the tragic news. The school’s Christmas show scheduled to take place on Tuesday night was cancelled.

School principal, Alan Cunningham confirmed that psychologists from the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) have been advising management, helping to support and advise teachers in their efforts to aid students at the time. “The school remains open to parents, to support them and to offer them advice and guidance. “We’re doing our best and helping all the kids in the school. We are helping everyone as much as we can”.

Mr Cunningham told The Clare Echo that Aoife was “a fabulous young woman, a great girl with a massive circle of friends and liked by everybody, you feel corny saying it because everyone says it at these times but she genuinely was”. He said it was “a terrible tragedy” which has “deeply saddened” the locality.

“She had a lot of her projects started for the Leaving Certificate, she was planning her future and what she was going to do with the rest of her life and then this comes like a bolt from the blue,” the Shannon native added.

Aoife’s will repose at McMahon’s funeral home in Shannon on Wednesday from 6pm to 7:30pm with removal to St. John and Paul’s Church Shannon where her funeral mass will take place on Thursday at 11am with burial afterwards in Illaunmanagh Cemetery.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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