Enda Kenny says he hopes to meet families of Berkeley tragedy

Leaders from UK and Northern Ireland express condolences on students’ deaths

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “It is my hope to meet with the families whenever that would be appropriate. It is such a sad time. I feel it all over the country.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “It is my hope to meet with the families whenever that would be appropriate. It is such a sad time. I feel it all over the country.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he would like to meet the families of the Berkeley tragedy when it is appropriate.

Mr Kenny said the deaths of six young people in California had touched every corner of the country.

“It is my hope to meet with the families whenever that would be appropriate. It is such a sad time. I feel it all over the country.”

The Taoiseach said an ecumenical service will be held somewhere close to the Dáil after the bodies of the victims are repatriated.

“We would not want that to interfere with the funerals if they were at that time.”

The Taoiseach said the students had travelled to America to “enjoy themselves and have a real experience” in California. He said it was so sad to have lost so many people in such a tragic accident.

Mr Kenny was speaking at a meeting of the British Irish Council, where political leaders from across the UK and Northern Ireland expressed their condolences on the deaths of the six students.

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said there was a terrible sadness across the island of Ireland about the events in California.

“Our thoughts and our prayers are with the families who have lost their children and those who are hoping their children who have been very seriously injured in what was a catastrophic accident will recover,” he said.

“We express our thanks and appreciation to all of those in the United States who were the first responders, the people in hospital who were dealing with the terrible injuries that have been inflicted.”

Summed up correctly

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon also offered her condolences to the Irish people for their loss.

The Taoiseach and Mr McGuinness earlier signed a book of condolences in the Mansion House.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said the country needed to “wrap our arms around” the families and friends of those who have died. She said the State stands ready to help them in any way possible.

“We will of course be absolutely happy to assist any families who need assistance, but that’s a private matter for the families,” she said. “But you know, we have always stood by to help them.”

Fragile

Aer Lingus

“I think the entire country is united in mourning for all these young people who have lost their lives. Many of us have had the opportunity to work abroad, to spend summers abroad and to go to these countries looking for a golden time, looking to explore and to work in a new country,” he said. “And it’s just an unspeakable tragedy to see the lives lost in this way . . . I want to commend the work that our airports, that Aer Lingus have done in helping these families get to the place of such tragedy in a sensitive and a considerate manner and I also want to praise and recognise the amazing work that our Consul General Philip Grant and his team have done in responding back to the awful needs of these families at this tragic time.”