Mother of Berkeley balcony victim starts online petition

Jackie Donohoe seeking support for introduction of higher building standards in San Francisco

A petition in support of new building standards in San Francisco following the Berkeley balcony collapse which killed six young people has attracted the support of some 3,000 people.

It was started on Wednesday by Jackie Donohoe whose daughter Ashley (22) and niece Olivia Burke (21) died when the fourth floor balcony they were standing on collapsed on June 16th last year.

Jackie Donohoe, as well as Aoife Beary - who was celebrating her 21st birthday on the night of the incident - and her mother Angela, all gave testimony to the California Senate on the proposed Bill 465 which would usher in stricter transparency laws on companies with past standards breaches.

Ms Donohoe launched the online petition seeking support for the proposed laws following the hearing by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It must pass the bill by Friday if it is to proceed to a full hearing later this month.


"My life was changed forever a year ago when I lost my daughter, Ashley and my niece Olivia when a balcony they were standing on collapsed in Berkeley, California and they and four other students fell to their deaths," she wrote on the petition site.

“If you or a loved one rent an apartment with a balcony or have ever been on vacation and stepped out on a balcony to admire the view - you, too, may be in danger as you have no idea if/when that balcony has been properly inspected.”

Ms Donohoe said Bill 465 was the first step toward introducing stronger standards for building materials, as well as balcony inspections and training for building inspectors.

“We can’t get Ashley and Olivia back, but if this tragedy can save the life of even one person who steps out on a balcony,” she said.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times