Tuesday 17 October 2017

'A heroes welcome' - Berkeley first responders to march in capital parade

Members of the Berkeley Police and Fire departments march in the 2016 Dublin St Patrick’s Day Parade
Members of the Berkeley Police and Fire departments march in the 2016 Dublin St Patrick’s Day Parade
The six students who lost their lives in the tragic accident, top left to bottom right: Lorcan Miller, Eoghan Culligan, Nick Schuster, Ashley Donohoe, Eimear Walsh and Olivia Burke

Ryan Nugent and Cormac McQuinn

First responders to the Berkeley balcony collapse should get a heroes' welcome when they march in the Dublin St Patrick's Day Parade, according to Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan.

A delegation of more than a dozen members of the Berkeley police and fire departments are in Dublin this week, less than nine months since the tragedy which saw six students lose their lives and another seven injured.

The second person on the scene on the night, police officer Jitendra Singh, told the Irish Independent that the scene of devastation was like "something you only see in movies".

"You would never normally see that - it looked very unreal," Mr Singh said.

Firefighter Ashley Bacher said the sight of the victims' friends by their sides sticks out in her memory.

"Normally, you'd try to clear the scene, but in this situation we let a few stay to try and comfort their friends while we were treating others," she said.

Members of the Berkeley, Oakland and Fremont police and fire departments at the garda memorial in Dublin Castle. Photo: Tom Burke
Members of the Berkeley, Oakland and Fremont police and fire departments at the garda memorial in Dublin Castle. Photo: Tom Burke

The delegation met with the surviving victims and the families of the deceased at a reception at Iveagh House on Tuesday.

Ms Bacher said that marching in the Dublin parade is a great honour and meeting the families was one of the main reasons she came over.

Mr Deenihan said the reception was a "very poignant occasion", but added that it was "good that they [the families] met with the first responders".

Irish Independent

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