Thursday 23 February 2017

Funeral masses begin as remains are brought home

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

Jimmy Deenihan
Jimmy Deenihan

Funeral ceremonies for five of the six Irish students who were killed when a balcony collapsed in Berkeley last Tuesday will take place over the coming week after their loved-ones brought their remains back to Dublin today.

The bodies of Eimear Walshe (21) Eoghan Culligan, (21) Niccolai Schuster (21) and Lorcan Miller (21) were due to arrive in Dublin on an Aer Lingus flight this morning following a special service at St Columba's Church in San Francisco where hundreds turned out to mourn them.

A ceremony will take place for Eoghan Culligan (21) from Rathfarnham, today.

Eoghan will be in repose at Fanagan's Funeral Home in Dundrum from 5pm to 7pm today.

He will be brought home to Rathfarnham tonight where he will remain with his family until his funeral Mass at the Church of the Annunciation on Tuesday at 11am.

He will be buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery. Eoghan is survived by his parents, Marie and Gerry, his older brothers Andrew and Stephen, his sister-in-law, Theresa, and his loving girlfriend, Sarah.

In the funeral notice, his family paid tribute to him: "Eoghan brightened our lives and that light will shine forever in our hearts. May he rest in peace."

The funeral arrangements for the other students who died in the tragedy had not been announced as of last night.

The remains of Olivia Burke are expected to be brought home on a later flight from San Francisco.

Olivia's remains were brought to Sonoma County in the north of San Francisco, home place of her Irish American cousin, Ashley Donohue (22). Ashley was the sixth student to die when the balcony collapsed in Berkeley last Tuesday. A joint funeral Mass was held for both cousins there yesterday.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Charles Flanagan asked that the privacy of the families of the victims of the Berkeley tragedy be respected. "I appeal for their privacy to be fully respected as they make their final journey home."

The seven injured students remained in three hospitals in San Fransisco this weekend.

Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan, who visited two of the injured, Jack Halpin (21) and Conor Flynn (22) at John Muir hospital on Friday, said he hoped they would recover.

Jack Halpin, who was credited with breaking the fall of another injured student, Clodagh Cogley, suffered two broken legs and back injuries.

Clodagh was said by her brother, Daragh, to be doing "really well" after operations on her spine, knee and shoulder.

Sean Fahey, Niall Murray and Conor Flynn, were also said to be doing well. Aoife Beary, a former classmate of Olivia Burke and Eimear Walsh in Loreto College Foxrock, and Hannah Waters, a DCU student from Castleknock, have suffered the most serious injuries.

Mr Deenihan is due to travel back from San Fransisco today following what he said was an "emotionally charged" journey.

"I really felt for the people, I suppose. I've had some tragic accidents to deal with myself in the past, I suppose it brings it all back to you," he said.

Of the parents of those dead and injured, who travelled to San Francisco, he said: "I am very impressed with how they are helping each other cope, how they are speaking to each other".

He knew the family of one of the victims, Niccolai Schuster (21), a former pupil of St Mary's College, Rathmines, whose grandmother is the sister of the late Kerry playwright John B Keane.

Niccolai Schuster, like Eoghan, a former pupil of St Mary's in Rathmines, will be in repose at his home in Terenure tomorrow from 5pm to 8pm. He will be removed from his home on Wednesday to the Church of the Three Patrons, Rathgar, for funeral mass at 11am and then to Crematorium at Mount Jerome cemetery. He is survived by his parents, John and Graziella, his brother Alexei, relatives and friends.

"May you rest in peace our darling boy, our bright shining star," read the tribute on his death notice.

comment and analysis: pages 14, 28 & 29

Sunday Independent

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