Plaque honours Irish students who died in Berkeley balcony collapse

Californian university town marks tragedy that occurred in early hours of June 16th, 2015

A plaque  is unveiled in Berkeley, California, to commemorate the six Irish students who died when a balcony collapsed in the university town three years ago. Photograph: @IrelandSanFran

A plaque is unveiled in Berkeley, California, to commemorate the six Irish students who died when a balcony collapsed in the university town three years ago. Photograph: @IrelandSanFran

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A plaque has been unveiled in Berkeley, California, to commemorate the six Irish students who died when a balcony collapsed in the university town three years ago.

Six students – Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Ashley Donohoe, Lorcán Miller, Niccolai Schuster and Eimear Walsh — lost their lives in the tragedy in June 2015.

Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States, Dan Mulhall, attended the ceremony.

Some family members of those who lost their lives were also in attendance.

The students who were killed when the balcony collapsed at the Library Gardens Apartments, in Berkeley, California (Top LtoR) Ashley Donohoe, Eoghan Culligan, Olivia Burke, (Bottom LtoR) Nick Schuster, Eimear Walsh, and Lorcan Miller.
The students who were killed when the balcony collapsed at the Library Gardens Apartments, in Berkeley, California (Top LtoR) Ashley Donohoe, Eoghan Culligan, Olivia Burke, (Bottom LtoR) Nick Schuster, Eimear Walsh, and Lorcan Miller.

Speaking ahead of the unveiling, Mr Mulhall recalled the deep sense of “grief, shock and sorrow” that was felt in the wake of the event which had an “enormous effect on Ireland” – “six young lives so tragically and prematurely ended and serious injury inflicted on so many”.

“I would like to pay tribute to the first-responders, medical staff and our wonderful Irish community who provided such . . . support for everyone affected, especially the young people and the families directly involved.”

Mayor of Berkeley Jesse Arreguin said the plaque will serve “as a permanent reminder to those we lost, and is also a testament to our friendship with the people of Ireland”.

“The balcony collapse was one of Berkeley’s darkest days, but in the aftermath it has brought us closer together,” he said.

The Berkeley balcony collapse occurred in the early hours of June 16th, 2015, when a fourth floor balcony collapsed onto the street below, killing six students and gravely wounding seven others.

Investigators in California concluded that inferior materials were used in the construction of the balcony that failed to waterproof the structure.

The families of the deceased reached settlements with the owner of the apartment complex, Blackrock, and Greystar, the manager of the property, last year.

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