Berkeley families praise construction safety law
The uncle of Berkeley balcony collapse victim Olivia Burke has expressed his gratitude to those involved in signing a new law that increases oversight over construction companies in the US.
A year after six Irish students were killed in the collapse, California has signed Senate Bill 465, which aims to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.
"We're grateful to you," George Donohoe told the California governor.
Eimear Walsh (21), Olivia Burke (21), Irish-American Ashley Donohoe (22), from California, Eoghan Culligan (21), Niccolai Schuster (21), and Lorcan Miller (21) died when the balcony they were standing on gave way.
Seven others were badly injured in the incident in the Library Gardens complex.
California governor Jerry Brown signed the law yesterday, which forces contractors to disclose past felonies and other crimes to state regulators within 90 days.
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan praised the families for their bravery and courage. "[Its] adoption is a testament to the tireless advocacy of those directly affected by the horrific Berkeley balcony collapse, which resulted in the deaths and injuries of a number of Irish students over a year ago.
"This legislation is but one step in a broader process which the Irish Government hopes will ensure that no other family has to endure the loss and injury suffered in Berkeley a year ago."
Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Joe McHugh was at the ceremony and said: "I deeply commend the selfless courage of the families of those injured."