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Ireland rallies around to support families of Berkeley tragedy

Books of condolences have been opened throughout the country.

Updated – 19.55pm

pastedimage-92419-543x500 Eoghan Culligan, Eimear Walsh, Nick Schuster (top row), Olivia Burke, Lorcán Miller and Ashley Donohoe Facebook Facebook

OVER €140,000 HAS been raised for the families of victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse as messages of support continued to pour in today.

An online fundraising campaign has raised nearly $60,000 (€53,000), while the American Ireland Fund has donated $100,000 (€88,000) for the injured and bereaved.

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

Books of condolences for the victims have been opened throughout the country.

President Michael D Higgins was among hundreds to sign a book at the Mansion House in Dublin this morning.

Irish balcony deaths Members of the public queue to sign a book of condolence at the Mansion House. Niall Carson / PA Wire Niall Carson / PA Wire / PA Wire

Book Of Condolences. Pictured Lord May Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Book Of Condolences. Pictured Presiden Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Schools and colleges

Colleges and schools attended by the victims have also paid tribute to the students.

UCD, where three of the victims had studied, has opened an online book of condolence on its website. The university held a minute’s silence during its conferring ceremonies today.

A number of government ministers are expected to attend a prayer service tomorrow in the UCD chapel.

In a statement, UCD President Andrew J Deeks expressed his condolences to the families and friends of those who died.

We cannot comprehend the desperate shock and grief they are feeling and we are heartbroken at their suffering and loss… It is heartbreaking to imagine that such a tragedy would strike these wonderful students when their lives are opening up to discover the world.

IADT, where 21-year old Olivia Burke was a student, has a book available here.

DIT on Aungier Street held a reflection service this afternoon for Eoghan Culligan, also 21, who had studied there.

Schools attended by the victims have also spoken about their heartache.

Daragh Coleman, president of St. Mary’s College Past Pupils Union, said that students and alumni had been left brokenhearted by the passing of Niccolai Schuster and Eoghan Culligan. Their book of condolences is available here.

St Andrew’s College, whose book is available here, has also paid tribute to medical student Lorcán Miller.

lorcan St Andrews College St Andrews College

Vigils and memorial masses in memory of the six students are being held around the country this week.

Members of the Oireachtas are organising a special memorial service for next week.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and other members of the government will attend the service, which will be held on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Irish Consul General Philip Grant told RTÉ this evening that over 1,000 people turned up the the vigil last night in Oakland.

“These are all our children at the moment,” he said, adding all is being done to make it as easy on the families concerned as possible.

He said there is no timeline on the repatriation of the remains, but hopefully it can be done as quickly as possible.

Speaking about the students still in hospital he said “they’re fighters”. He said they have been overwhelmed by support from the Irish-American community in California.

- additional reporting by Catherine Healy

Read: ‘We will all share the loss’: Tributes paid to Irish students tragically killed in balcony collapse>

Read: ‘When you look at the papers, don’t you see the faces of your own sons and daughters?’>

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