US ambassador recalls ‘unimaginable’ Berkeley tragedy

On anniversary of balcony collapse, Kevin O’Malley unveils plaque as tribute to victims

The US ambassador to Ireland Kevin F. O’Malley has paid tribute to the six young people who lost their lives in the “unimaginable tragedy” of the Berkeley balcony collapse.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

The US ambassador to Ireland Kevin F. O’Malley has paid tribute to the six young people who lost their lives in the “unimaginable tragedy” of the Berkeley balcony collapse. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

The US ambassador to Ireland has paid tribute to the six young people who lost their lives in the “unimaginable tragedy” of the Berkeley balcony collapse.

Speaking on the first anniversary of their deaths, Kevin F. O’Malley said the people of the United States “extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families, friends, and loved ones of the students who lost their lives or were injured”.

The tragedy claimed the lives of Eoghan Culligan, Lorcán Miller, Niccolai (Nick) Schuster, Eimear Walsh and Olivia Burke, who were all 21 years old and from Dublin, and Ms Burke’s cousin Ashley Donohoe (22) of Rohnert Park, California, north of Berkeley.

An apple tree was planted in the American Embassy’s front courtyard during a remembrance ceremony on Wednesday. A memorial plaque was also unveiled in tribute to those affected by the tragedy.

“As the tree grows strong, we will take comfort in the knowledge that the memory of Ashley, Eimear, Eoghan, Lorcan, Niccolai, and Olivia, will remain with us always,” said Mr O’Malley.

“We also hold in our thoughts and prayers the young people who are still recovering from their injuries; that they may continue to heal with the love and support of family and friends here and in the United States.

“The remarkable resilience they have displayed sends a powerful reminder to the world of the friendship between our people and of our capacity to unite in times of adversity. I hope the outpouring of love and support from the American people in the aftermath of this tragedy has provided some comfort and brought us closer together,” he said.