Tributes paid to Irish victims


Tributes to Dr Aisling Butler, Eithne Walls and Jane Deasy

Dr Aisling Butler

DR AISLING Butler from Ballinakill, on the outskirts of Roscrea, Co Tipperary, had turned 26 just a few weeks ago.

Her parents John and Evelyn and sister Lorna yesterday issued a statement through their solicitor. “Aisling was very talented and a high achiever with a very promising career.

“She was also full of fun, caring and kind, a devoted daughter and sister.

“She had taken a holiday with three friends who had all qualified together and two of whom accompanied her on the flight,” the statement said.

“The family of Dr Aisling Butler are devastated with the news that the Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, on which she and her two friends were passengers, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean.”

The Butlers said they were trying to absorb the shocking news.

“Their thoughts are also with the families of other passengers and, in particular, her friends Jane Deasy and Eithne Walls.”

Dr Butler graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in May of 2007.

A spokeswoman for Tallaght hospital in Dublin said Dr Butler was a member of staff in the emergency department, describing her as a “senior house officer”.

Dr Butler had previously worked in Limerick Regional and Portlaoise hospitals.

She was due to take up a post in St James’s Hospital, Dublin, next month.

Her parish priest, Fr Tom Corbett, said the family had hoped against hope that Aisling was not on the flight.

Local Fine Gael councillor Denis Ryan said “the whole area is traumatised” by the tragedy. Aisling was a “lovely young woman, enjoying life, having just become a doctor,” he said.

Eithne Walls

THE FAMILY of Eithne Walls from Ballygowan, Co Down, described her as “an extraordinary person who brought light into the lives of everyone she touched”.

The 28-year-old doctor joined the ophthalmic team at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin in January. She had dreamed of becoming an eye surgeon since childhood, her family said in a statement.

“She had a passion for life that permeated, enlivened and enriched those around her. We feel privileged to have shared her too short life and the countless memories of her will stay with us forever.” The family members said they had been overwhelmed by the messages of support from friends throughout the world.

“Your thoughts and prayers give us comfort at this most devastating of times.”

A spokeswoman for the eye and ear hospital said Dr Walls had a promising medical career ahead of her, and staff at the hospital were “deeply upset and dismayed” by what had happened.

Dr Walls was “a vibrant, young, energetic, talented, enthusiastic doctor and such a willing and valued member of the staff”, the spokeswoman said.

After graduating from Trinity College Dublin’s medical school in 2007, Dr Walls worked as an intern in Tallaght Hospital.

She was also a dancer with Riverdance, spending a year on New York’s Broadway before beginning her medical studies.

“Many people have known Eithne through Irish dancing, a passion she had continued throughout her studies and into her professional life,” her family said.

“Eithne we will miss your easy smile. We will miss your loving embrace. We will miss your happy hello and we will miss your dancing feet. We will miss your silliness, your wit and your hugs.”

Jane Deasy

JANE DEASY from Dublin was due to take up a position at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital on Dublin’s Adelaide Road on July 1st.

A spokeswoman for Tallaght hospital, where Dr Deasy had worked as an intern, said “our thoughts and feelings” were with her family.

A service was held in the hospital chapel yesterday “for all on Flight 447”, she said.

“A book of condolences remains open for all to write their personal thoughts and prayers and this is located in the pastoral care department.”

Dr Deasy graduated from Trinity College Dublin’s medical school in 2007 and registered with the medical council last year.

A spokeswoman for the eye and ear hospital confirmed that Dr Deasy was due to begin working there in a month’s time.

The Deasy family, understood to be based in the Rathgar/Dartry area of Dublin, made a specific request for privacy through the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Dr Deasy’s father works as a consultant at Beaumont Hospital.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said: “People throughout Ireland and beyond are thinking of the families of the missing Irish passengers on Air France flight AF447 at this very difficult time.

“It is essential that the grieving families be given time and space to come to terms with this terrible tragedy.

“I would respectfully ask members of the media to please allow the families and friends of the missing passengers privacy at this very difficult time.”

The Minister said his department continued to be in close contact with the families, while Irish embassies in Paris and Brazil remained in close contact with the relevant authorities.