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27 Jun 2022

Offaly community in shock after tragic death of college student

Tributes have been paid by staff, friends and colleagues in Limerick’s Mary Immaculate College

MIC: Acting president Eugene Wall informed students of the 'untimely death' of student Rachel Spain

MIC: Acting president Eugene Wall informed students of the 'untimely death' of student Rachel Spain

A community in Offaly is in mourning following the untimely death of a 21 year old college student on Friday

Rachel Spain, 21, from Birr sadly passed away last Friday night. She was a Bachelor of Arts student in the subjects Gaeilge and Music  at Limerick’s Mary Immaculate College

Her passing has left the institution in shock and will have a 'profound impact' on its community, its acting president has said.

Acting president of the college Prof Eugene Wall led tributes to Ms Spain in an email to students over the weekend: “It is with shock and heartfelt sadness that I write to you to inform you of the tragic death of our student Rachel Spain last night. 

“Rachel, who was from Birr, Co. Offaly, was a 4th year BA student, taking Gaeilge and Music.  

“Rachel’s untimely death will have a profound impact on the College community, particularly on her friends and those who taught her.

“On behalf of the entire college community, I extend deepest sympathy to her distraught parents and brother, her extended family and her friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely sad time.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.”

Rachel was a member of MIDAS [MIC's drama society], and was a volunteer at student radio station Wired FM.

In a statement posted to Facebook, the college’s Students’ Union said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Rachel’s family, her friends and classmates”.

“MISU would like to remind all students that the support services of MISU, the MIC Counsellors and Chaplaincy are available to use at this time. Chaplaincy is open throughout the day if any student would like to drop in.”

Ray Burke, station manager at Wired FM and fellow Offaly native, said that her “loss is deeply felt” in the station and college community.

“Our thoughts are with her family, and all the great friends who laughed and joked with her in the halls of Mary I and St Brendan's Community School, sung with her on stage with Midas and Birr Stage Guild, and had to pleasure of her warm friendly nature when she served them at The Stables in Birr.

“It's devastating to lose such a wonderful vibrant person so young. The loss is felt by the staff and students of the station, and the broader college community.”

Funeral details are as follows:

Reposing at her home at 1 Corr na Meala, Hillside, Birr, Co Offaly, this Wednesday from 3pm until 8pm. Removal on Thursday morning to arrive at St Brendan's Church, Birr, at 10.45am for funeral mass at 11am. Burial afterwards in Clonoghill Cemetery, Birr. House private all day Tuesday and Thursday morning.

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