Statement issued by the Irish Consulate San Francisco on behalf of the families of Eoghan Culligan, Lorcán Miller, Niccolai Schuster and Eimear Walsh.
As we leave Berkeley and return home to Ireland with our beloved sons and daughters, Eimear, Eoghan, Lorcan and Niccolai, we would like to thank everyone in America and Ireland for their sympathy and support, which has been a tremendous comfort to us at this tragic time.
Particularly we thank the local authorities, emergency services, medical staff, parishes and communities of Berkeley.
In addition we are forever grateful to the Irish Consul, Philip Grant, and his local team, and also the amazing service and support received from Aer Lingus, the Department of Foreign Affairs, US Ambassador Anne Anderson, and a special appreciation to Minister Deenihan.
We cannot thank enough the students that were in the apartment and apartment complex that night.
The manner and speed at which they reached out to our families, to our Consul, and to each other was faultless. Our children were extraordinarily blessed in their friends and we are enormously proud of them.
The sympathy and responses of friends of our sons and daughters, the wider group of students on J1 visas and the program’s sponsoring Agencies (USIT, SAYIT, CIEE and InterExchange) is a testament to their popularity, and to the closeness of these groups from school and university.
The Irish communities of the Bay Area - coordinated by Fr Brendan McBride, Fr Aidan McAleenan, Celine Kennelly and their colleagues at the Irish Immigration and Pastoral Center - have been a constant source of support and comfort.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Donohue family and Ashley, who was laid to rest today in Sonoma, and with Aoife, Clodagh, Connor, Hannah, Jack, Sean and Niall who remain in hospital and with their families, we wish them a speedy recovery.
We very much appreciate the support and sympathy that has been expressed, but now we ask for privacy so that we can mourn the sudden and tragic passing of our beloved sons and daughters, with the dignity that they deserve.