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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 9 July, 2020
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The remains of all the Berkeley victims have now returned to Ireland

The first of the funerals will take place tomorrow.

Updated 4.37 pm 

THE BODY OF Olivia Burke, one of the victims of last week’s balcony collapse in Berkeley, California, has been returned to Ireland on a flight from San Francisco to Dublin.

Hundreds attended a service for the young woman and and her cousin, Ashley Donohoe in northern California over the weekend.

Berkeley Balcony Collapse Friends and family gather for a service for Olivia Burke, 21, and Ashley Donohoe, 22, at St. Josephs Catholic Church. Source: Associated Press

The bodies of Eoghan Culligan, Lorcán Miller, Niccolai Schuster and Eimear Walsh were flown home to Dublin yesterday.

They were greeted by a garda cortege which escorted them from the airport.

The first of the Irish funerals will take place tomorrow, with Eoghan Culligan and Eimear Walsh being laid to rest in Rathfarnham and Foxrock, respectively. Both funeral masses will begin at 11am.

On Wednesday, the funerals of Niccolai Schuster and Olivia Burke will be held in Rathgar and Foxrock.

The families of those who died have asked for privacy at this time and the Archdiocese of Dublin has requested that cameras are not used in the church grounds.

Irish officials and religious leaders yesterday thanked San Francisco Bay Area Catholics and others for the support and care given to the families of six young people killed when a balcony collapsed in Berkeley last week.

Berkeley Balcony Collapse Jimmy Deenihan, Ireland's Minister of State for the Diaspora, leaves an open casket vigil for four Irish students who died Tuesday when a Berkeley apartment balcony collapsed. Source: Associated Press

Minister of State for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan said the support shown to the Irish families while they were in the Bay Area helped them cope with their loss.

“Thank you sincerely on behalf of the Irish people and the Irish government,” Deenihan said during a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral Church yesterday.

Berkeley Balcony Collapse A bagpiper waits for the arrival of the caskets before the start of services for Olivia Burke, 21, and Ashley Donohoe, 22, at St. Josephs Catholic Church in Cotati, California. Source: Associated Press

Father Brendan McBride of the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center in San Francisco urged people to keep praying for the families of those who died and the seven who remain in hospital.

RTÉ reported last night that the two women in hospital were showing a slight improvement.

“It’s in this community of friendship that we share our burden,” McBride said.

“Continue to pray for them and support them.”

Investigations are ongoing in the US as to whether any criminal proceedings can be initiated in light of the balcony collapse at the apartment block.

- Additional reporting by Associated Press and Rónán Duffy

Read: Berkeley tragedy victims were “the products of what is best in Irish families”>

Read: Bodies of Berkeley tragedy victims to be flown home>

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