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Dublin: 17 °C Tuesday 23 July, 2019

Berkeley tragedy victims were "the products of what is best in Irish families"

The Irish community, and those further afield, have rallied to support the families and the seven who remain injured in hospital.

20/06/2015. Pro Cathedral - Book of Condolences. P A book of condolence in the Pro Cathedral, Dublin Source: Photocall Ireland

A MASS FOR the victims of the Berkeley tragedy has been told they were “the products of what is best in Irish families”.

Niccolai Schuster (21), Eoghan Culligan (21), Eimear Walsh (21), Olivia Burke (21), Ashley Donohoe (22) and Lorcan Miller (21) were celebrating at a party in the US city of Berkeley on Monday night when they were killed by the collapse of a fourth-floor balcony.

Today in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral, Bishop Diarmuid Martin told the congregation that the tragedy struck a chord with all Irish people.

“Amid the references to giftedness and talents, ambition, every now and then words emerged which spoke about the simple and basic fact of each of these young people being good.

These young men and women were the products of what is best in Irish families; that desire of parents to see their children flourish and be free and be generous and be the sort of person that would make them proud.

In California, a joint funeral mass for first cousins Olivia Burke and Ashley Donohoe was held earlier this evening. Around 200 J1 students attended the funeral in Sonoma, arriving on buses organised by the Irish Consul General.


Meanwhile, over a quarter of a million euro has been raised to help the families of six students who died when a balcony collapsed during a 21st birthday party.

The Irish community, and those further afield, have rallied to support the families and the seven who remain injured in hospital.

Earlier this week, Aer Lingus was praised for helping the families get to the US, while others have begun raising funds for them.

Balcony Deaths Claire Raftery, of the Irish Pipes of San Francisco, plays the bagpipes before a memorial service for the six Irish students at the Cathedral of Christ the Light during the week. Source: AP/Press Association Images

An on-line crowd-funding campaign has reached over €158,000 in just three days, with 1,678  people pitching in.

Building materials group Kingspan is listed as having donated $10,000, while the North American GAA County Board gave $2,000.

The Irish American Fund donated $100,000 separately to provide assistance on the ground.

The fundraising page asked anyone who may be flying from San Francisco to Dublin today or tomorrow to consider giving up their spot to a family member in need.

Three close friends of Olivia Burke who were on a J1 trip to Austin, Texas, have raised enough money in a separate funding page to fly home for her funeral.

Across the States, Irish bars have also been raising funds, with McFadden’s in Chicago holding an impromptu event on Wednesday and raising over $1,000. At home, the Bath pub in Sandymount will host a pub quiz on Monday in aid of Olivia Burke’s family and a memorial to the student.

Read: Bodies of Berkeley tragedy victims to be flown home

Read: Remains of four students killed at Berkeley will arrive in Dublin on Sunday morning

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