Tributes to popular teenager who was ‘loved by everybody’

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Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a popular teenager from Upper Ballinderry who sadly passed away just days before Christmas.

Eighteen-year-old Dearbhla Harbinson died at the Royal Victoria Hospital on Friday, December 23 - just two days after she suddenly took unwell after enjoying a night out in Belfast with friends.

A post mortem examination was carried out to determine the cause of death, but the details haven’t been made public.

Dearbhla, a first year psychology student at University College Dublin, had only recently returned home for the Christmas holidays when the tragedy occurred.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at St Joseph’s Church, Glenavy on Boxing Day for the funeral of the former Rathmore Grammar School pupil.

“She was a very kind, very generous person who always seemed to be so full of life. A very pleasant girl who was loved by everybody, always very upbeat and a good girl,” Fr Colm McBride told mourners.

He described Dearbhla, the daughter of prominent Antrim GAA figure Lenny Harbinson, as “a girl who always achieved her goals, whatever they were.”

One of the teenager’s friends posted on Facebook: “My heart is heavy, but also full, so full of love, pride and gratitude that I had the blessing and honour of calling this beautiful soul my friend.”

Cllr Pat Catney described Dearbhla’s death as “a parent’s worst nightmare”and said the whole community has been left “shocked and devastated.”