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'My daughter and her friends should still be alive'

Jackie Donohoe’s daughter Ashley and Ashley’s cousin Olivia Burke died after the accident in June 2015.

Eoghan Culligan, Eimear Walsh, Niccolai Schuster, Ashley Donohoe, Loran Miller and Olivia Burke.
Eoghan Culligan, Eimear Walsh, Niccolai Schuster, Ashley Donohoe, Loran Miller and Olivia Burke.

THE MOTHER OF one of the Berkeley balcony collapse victims has said her daughter should still be alive.

Jackie Donohoe’s daughter Ashley and Ashley’s cousin Olivia Burke died in the accident in California one year ago.

While celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday in June 2015, the apartment balcony many of them stood on collapsed.

Students Eimear Walsh, Ashley Donohue, Olivia Burke, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcán Miller and Eoghan Culligan died, while several others suffered life-changing injuries.

A bill designed to prevent another balcony collapse has been passed by a policy committee following Donohoe’s testimony.

Local news outlet Fox40 reports that Donohoe told the committee:

That balcony should have not gone down … my daughter and the rest of these kids should be alive today.

The bill by Senator Jerry Hill looks to revamp balcony inspection practices. The contractor that built the apartment building where the balcony collapsed paid out $26 million (€23 million) in settlements over faulty construction in the previous three years.

“The reason why the industry does not want these reforms to go through is so they can do secret settlements and hide negligent construction when they get caught,” Donohoe said.

Irish Consul General Philip Grant also attended the legislative hearings.

“We know that balcony was a death trap … They’re very determined … to try and encourage the members of the legislature to take the steps necessary so that accidents and tragedies like this won’t happen to any other family in the future,” he said.

Read: A year on, the friendship and love of six young students is remembered

Read: Three young Irish women who rented Berkeley apartment sue over tragic balcony collapse

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Órla Ryan

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