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

The remains are to be released to families this evening.

Updated 19.59pm

THE REMAINS of four of the students killed after a balcony collapse in Berkeley will be repatriated this evening on a flight to Dublin.

The joint funeral of cousins Olivia Burke and Ashley Donohue is due to take place tomorrow.

The remains of the four other students will  be returned to their families in a joint service in a church in St Columbus’ Church in Berkeley this evening.

It’s reported the families of the Irish students want the J-1 community to also be allowed to pay their respects and shuttle buses are being arranged to transport students to an overnight vigil at the church

It’s believed the remains will then be repatriated back to Ireland tomorrow. The caskets will arrive in Dublin on Sunday.

Memorial

Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan, who travelled to the US to be with the the families who have lost loved ones attended a memorial on Kittredge Street today.

Speaking to RTÉ, he said he had never seen an outpouring of genuine sympathy and grief from the whole country like the one that had accompanied this tragedy.

“The six who are dead have become the children of Ireland.”

Having visited the scene where the balcony collapsed, the minister said it was a miracle that no one else was killed.

At a press conference at the hospital this evening, the minister said he spoke to two mae survivors of the incident, who he said are expected to make a full recovery.

He thanked the medical staff at the hospitals for all they have done and for accomodating both family and friends in this difficult time.

Friends pay respect 

A friend of one of the victims of the tragic Berkeley balcony collapse has paid tribute to him.

lorcan Source: Katie Wolahan

Katie Wolahan has written a moving blog post about her friend Lorcán Miller (21), one of six people who lost their lives earlier this week.

“We used to walk down by Shankill beach and pass two huge seafront houses. He was going to buy one, I was going to buy the other, and our kids would grow up as best friends.

“Ideally, two of our children would fall in love, and we’d have a few mutual grandchildren. He promised that if I asked him to be a bridesmaid at my wedding, he would wear a dress, or at least a matching suit.”

“We’d spend hours on the beach talking. I’m struggling to remember what exactly we talked about for hours on end. Probably the normal stuff; relationships, college, exams, food, family, what we were doing next weekend. It all seems so trivial now, and I can’t help wondering if I told him enough how much he meant to me.

enda kenny Enda Kenny signing the book of condolence at the Mansion House today. Source: Photocall Ireland

Katie, who is currently in Vietnam, said she was been “swinging between every emotion” as she slowly comes to terms with her friend’s death.

Family was “incredibly important” to Lorcán, she said, noting:

“He adored his three younger siblings, and spoke non-stop of their latest school plays or spelling tests or birthday parties. He spoke with such admiration of his two parents Sinead and Ken, and I am thinking of them and praying for their strength constantly.”

To all those who are grieving for the six young people, I am so so sorry for your pain. To the families and friends of those injured, I am constantly praying and wishing for their full recovery. To all the people who have contacted me over the past two days, thank you for your kindness.
Everyone is in this together, and it seems as though every person in Ireland is shocked and saddened by the loss of six beautiful, bright people. Lorcán had so much more to give, but his achievements in life far exceeded the time he had. He brought immeasurable happiness and joy to me and so many others, something I am eternally grateful for. He will be in my heart always.

Niccolai Schuster (21), Eoghan Culligan (21), Eimear Walsh (21), Olivia Burke (21) and Ashley Donohoe (22) also died when they were celebrating a 21st birthday party on Monday night.

Several others remain in hospital.

deen Source: Screengrab/RTE

This afternoon, author JK Rowling sent a message of support to Clodagh Cogley after hearing she was a fan of her books.

Memorial service 

Hundreds of people attended a memorial service at UCD this afternoon, where three of the victims were students.

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina were among those present at Belfield Church.

People also gathered outside Foxrock Church this afternoon, where a tree planting ceremony was held.

Messages were written on ribbons and tied to the tree to honour the six who lost their lives this week. People are encouraged to take write their messages over the weekend

Enda Kenny said he intends to meet the bereaved families whenever it is appropriate to do so.

Meanwhile, the GAA has announced that a minute’s silence will be held at all inter-county championship fixtures this weekend as a mark of respect.

Additional reporting Christina Finn 

Read: ‘It’s such a sad time, I feel it all over the country’ – Enda Kenny

Read: Ireland rallies around to support families of Berkeley tragedy

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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