'My beautiful, funny, intelligent baby girl' - mum's tribute to tragic Elisha

Gráinne Gault has thanked the search teams that recovered her child's body from the River Suir after eight days of extensive searches across south Tipperary and beyond.

"Our baby girl has been recovered," she wrote online. "Thank you all for your efforts in bringing her home to us, so we can now lay her to rest."

As thousands of tributes poured in online, Ms Gault then posted a smiling picture of her daughter.

"My beautiful, funny, intelligent baby girl Elisha Gault," she wrote.

Elisha was last seen shortly after 10pm on St Patrick's Day on Dillon Bridge in her hometown of Carrick-on-Suir.

Flowers were laid at the site yesterday morning, with many people stopping briefly to bless themselves or pay their respects as they passed by.

Hundreds of search volunteers supported the massive operation to find the schoolgirl, before her body was found on Sunday evening.

Parish priest Fr Paul Waldron told the Irish Independent that "a blanket of anxiety" had covered the community. "On behalf of the faith community of Carrick-on-Suir and surrounding areas, we extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Gault family at this most tragic of times," he said. "There is in this community an extraordinary sense of care and mutual support, which always manifests itself at times of difficulty and tragedy, never more so than in these recent days."

The principal of Comeragh College, where Elisha was a pupil, said she "will be missed by all who knew her". "This is a terrible tragedy for her family, our school and our community," said Kevin Langton. "We are deeply saddened by this news."

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