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Community unites to support family of Seán Shannon


A fundraising campaign which was set up to help support the family of an Ennis teenager who died in Slovenia has had an “incredible” response with hundreds of people giving donations.
The online fundraiser launched in the wake of the tragic passing of musician Seán Shannon surpassed its initial target of €5,000 within a couple of hours of being set up, and so far more than €21,000 has been donated.
18-year-old Seán, a talented pianist from Connolly Villas in Ennis, was found dead after going missing in Bled last Friday where he was holidaying. His loss has led to an outpouring of grief locally with many tributes being paid to the youngster.
Ennis Councillor Mary Howard who set up the fundraising campaign explains that the monies raised will go towards alleviating the “considerable expenditure” the Shannon family are facing following their loss.
Any unspent funds will be donated to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust which aims to alleviate the financial hardship of bereaved families repatriating the remains of loved ones who have died abroad in sudden or tragic circumstances back to Ireland.
Councillor Howard, who describes Seán’s loss as “hard to fathom” explains she was moved to set up the fundraiser as a way of doing something practical to help the Shannon family.
“Two hours after it started it had already passed its target of €5,000, so we doubled it to €10,000 and it has exceeded that so the target is now €20,000. I have always said we have an amazing community here. Looking at the donations there were some big ones and also a huge amount of €5 and that really caught my heart. These were children or people who don’t have a lot of money but they want to help. It really just goes to show that there are genuine caring people within the community. There were a lot of names that I didn’t recognise, many who were not local. This tragedy has touched so many people who want to help and assist the family so they don’t have to worry about the finances around the funeral or if they have to travel over to Slovenia. The last thing you want when people are grieving is to have the added worry of finance and now they now they can give him whatever kind of final farewell they want to give and the kind of farewell he deserves without having to worry about finances. One thing I will take away from this is the kindness and humanity there is within our community and the wider community, it’s just extraordinary.”
She adds she has been inundated with messages from people who appreciate the opportunity to show their support for the family.
Councillor Howard remembers Seán as a “respectful, shy, humble young man with an extraordinary talent”. She first came across his talent when she was approached for help in sourcing a piano through the musical instrument appeal. While she was unable to find a piano, she followed the progress of this young person who “was blowing people away” with his music. “He started off self taught, literally learning off YouTube, then Music Generation became involved, and the Lions Club and glór. I’d never met a child prodigy in my life. And I don’t know if I ever will again, but the whole community got involved when they saw this amazing talent this young lad had.”
She recalls seeing his first solo recital in glór at just 14. “I remember thinking this guy has got an amazing future. He was destined for amazing things. But it was just his humility, and his kindness and gentleness, I just thought he was such a beautiful man in every way.”
The Shannon family’s life have been “torn asunder” she adds. “I was looking forward to watching him progress, thinking of him coming back to Ennis to give recitals with the tickets like gold dust. It’s really hard to fathom that Seán is no longer with us and my heart is broken for the family and my sincere condolences to each and every one of them and to his friends.”
To donation to the fund click here.

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