Tuesday 6 December 2016

Longest journey home for tragedy victims

Liam Kelly and Shona Murray

Published 19/06/2015 | 02:30

Students hold candles as they gather at the Martin Luther King Jr Civic Center Park to mourn the victims of the Berkeley balcony tragedy
Students hold candles as they gather at the Martin Luther King Jr Civic Center Park to mourn the victims of the Berkeley balcony tragedy

A special flight has been booked for Sunday to bring home the remains of five J1 students who died in the Berkeley balcony tragedy.

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The parents of Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcán Miller and Eimear Walsh were expected to finally see their remains late last night.

The families are said to be exhausted but comforted by the immense solidarity shown to them by the local community in Berkeley, as well as the Irish Diaspora and the several hundred JI students who have held two separate memorials.

A joint funeral for two cousins, Ashley Donohue and Olivia Burke, who were among those killed, is due to take place on Saturday in St Joseph’s Church in Rohnert Park, about 90 minutes from Berkeley.

Two men participate in a special Mass for the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse in Oakland, California June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Two men participate in a special Mass for the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse in Oakland, California June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Father Aidan McAleenan, an Irishman who has a Parish in Oakland, speaks during a special Mass for the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse in Oakland, California June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
The sun sets outside the Cathedral of Christ the Light, prior to a special Mass for the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse, in Oakland, California June 17, 2015. Three men and three women in their early 20s, including an American friend of the Irish students, died in the collapse, and seven others were hospitalized. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Claire Raftery, a former Dubliner now living in San Francisco, plays the bagpipes prior to a special Mass for the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse in Oakland, California June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
A man looks up while others pray during a special Mass for the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse in Oakland, California June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Claire Raftery, a former Dubliner now living in San Francisco, stands during a special Mass for the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse in Oakland, California June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Neil Sands, President of the Irish Network Bay Area, attends a special Mass for the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse in Oakland, California June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Claire Raftery, a former Dubliner now living in San Francisco, plays bagpipes before a special Mass for the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse in Oakland, California June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Mourners lay candles during a vigil for six Irish students Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)
Mourners hold candles during a vigil for six Irish students Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)
A mourner cries after placing a candle at a vigil for six Irish students Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Berkeley, Calif. The six Irish students died when a balcony collapsed during a party. (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)
Mourners stand by during a candlelight vigil for six Irish students Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)
Candles illuminate a picture of Niccolai Schuster during a candlelight vigil for six Irish students Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)
A flag of Ireland, flowers and a sign are shown at a shrine left for victims of the Library Gardens apartment building balcony collapse Wednesday, June 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A man who did not give his name looks at photographs, cards and flowers from a shrine for victims from the Library Gardens apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, Calif., Wednesday, June 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Flowers and cards are left for victims from the Library Gardens apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, Calif., Wednesday, June 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Afterwards, Dublin-born Olivia Burke will be brought home to be laid to rest.

Aer Lingus has organised a flight to take home the deceased on Sunday, but some relatives are keen to fly on Saturday if at all possible.

Visitors lay flowers on a makeshift memorial near the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Visitors lay flowers on a makeshift memorial near the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Flowers and cards are left for victims from the Library Gardens apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Flowers are laid at a memorial near the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Flowers and cards mark a makeshift memorial near the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Flowers and a framed photograph mark a makeshift memorial near the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States (R) speaks to the media with Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates (L) following a wreath-laying ceremony at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Visitors lay flowers on a makeshift memorial near the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States (L) helps Neil Sands, President of the Irish Network Bay Area, lay an Irish flag atop two wreaths at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Neil Sands, President of the Irish Network Bay Area, pauses for a moment after laying an Irish flag atop two wreaths at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Visitors react as they visit a memorial near the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates (C) stands next to Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States (L) and Berkeley Police officers before a wreath-laying ceremony at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates (L) hugs Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States, following a wreath-laying ceremony at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates (L) participates in a wreath-laying ceremony with Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Neil Sands, President of the Irish Network Bay Area, lays an Irish flag atop two wreaths at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates (L) hugs Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States, following a wreath-laying ceremony at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
A man makes the sign of the cross over his heart after laying a bouquet of flowers near the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Mary Elzy says a prayer for victims of a balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, left, listens as Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland of the Western United States, speaks to reporters in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, left, hugs Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland of the Western United States, after placing wreaths at the Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Toni Mikulka places flowers at a makeshift memorial for victims of a balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A flag of Ireland is draped over wreaths at the Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Flowers and a map of Ireland are left at a makeshift memorial for victims of a balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, left, hugs Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland of the Western United States, after placing wreaths at the Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, left, and Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland of the Western United States, walk in front of a building where a balcony collapsed in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Neil Sands of the Irish Network Bay Area places a flag of Ireland over wreaths at the Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland of the Western United States, left, and Neil Sands of the Irish Network Bay Area place a flag of Ireland over wreaths at the Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Two of the seven injured students, Aoife Beary and Hannah Waters, were still fighting for their lives in hospital last night.

The Mayor of Berkeley Tom Bates has criticised the red tape that has delayed the repatriation process.

A man makes the sign of the cross over his heart after laying a bouquet of flowers near the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Six people were killed, including five young Irish citizens, and at least seven other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
A man makes the sign of the cross over his heart after laying a bouquet of flowers near the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Six people were killed, including five young Irish citizens, and at least seven other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Workmen examine the damage at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Six people were killed, including five young Irish citizens, and at least seven other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
The remains of a damaged balcony are removed from a 4th-story apartment building balcony in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Six people were killed, including five young Irish citizens, and at least seven other people were injured when the balcony collapsed early Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Workmen examine the damage at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Six people were killed, including five young Irish citizens, and at least seven other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Workmen examine the damage at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Six people were killed, including five young Irish citizens, and at least seven other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Flowers are laid at a memorial near the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Six people were killed, including five young Irish citizens, and at least seven other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Philip Grant, the Consul General of Ireland for the Western United States speaks at a news conference following a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Six people were killed, including five young Irish citizens, and at least seven other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Workers with BELFOR Restoration Company look at a fourth floor balcony railing as it rests on the balcony below at the Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley, Calif. on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Berkeley police say several people are dead and others injured after a balcony fell shortly before 1 a.m., near the University of California, Berkeley. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Workers examine a balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Berkeley police say several people are dead and others injured after the balcony fell near the University of California, Berkeley. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Workers examine a balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Police and fire and building officials were working to figure out why the roughly 5-by-10-foot concrete-floor balcony broke loose from the side of the stucco apartment building, situated a couple of blocks from the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
The balcony that collapsed at an apartment building on Kittredge Street in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Six people were killed and seven others were taken to area hospitals. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group via AP)
A man who did not give his name leaves an item at a makeshift memorial for victims of a balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Berkeley police say several people are dead and others injured after a balcony fell shortly before 1 a.m., near the University of California, Berkeley. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Three unidentified men stand at a makeshift memorial for victims of a balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Berkeley police said several people were killed and others injured after a balcony fell shortly before 1 a.m., near the University of California, Berkeley. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A woman leaves flowers at a makeshift memorial for victims of a balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Berkeley police said several people were killed and others injured after a balcony fell shortly before 1 a.m., near the University of California, Berkeley. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Flowers and a cigarette box form a makeshift shrine near the area where a fourth floor balcony collapsed in Berkeley, Calif. on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Berkeley police say several people are dead and others injured after a balcony fell shortly before 1 a.m., near the University of California, Berkeley. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Two women embrace while watching sheriff's deputies move the body of a person who died when a fourth floor balcony collapsed in Berkeley, Calif. on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. The two said they knew the victims of the collapse. Berkeley police say several people are dead and others injured after a balcony fell shortly before 1 a.m., near the University of California, Berkeley. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Debris is seen on the sidewalk below a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Five young Irish citizens were killed and at least eight other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Damage is seen at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Five young Irish citizens were killed and at least eight other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Debris is seen on the sidewalk below a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Five young Irish citizens were killed and at least eight other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Berkeley Police officers confer at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Five young Irish citizens were killed and at least eight other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Damage is seen at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Five young Irish citizens were killed and at least eight other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Security guards stand at an entry outside of Highland Hospital, where some victims from a balcony that collapsed were taken, Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in Oakland, Calif. Berkeley police say several people are dead and others injured after a balcony fell shortly before 1 a.m., near the University of California, Berkeley. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
BERKELEY, CA - JUNE 16: A section of collapsed balcony remains on the front of an apartment building new UC Berkeley on June 16, 2015 in Berkeley, California. 5 people were killed and 8 were seriously injured when a balcony collapsed at an apartment building near the University of California at Berkeley campus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Two women embrace while watching sheriff's deputies move the body of a person who died when a fourth floor balcony collapsed in Berkeley, Calif. on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. The two said they knew the victims of the collapse. Berkeley police say several people are dead and others injured after a balcony fell shortly before 1 a.m., near the University of California, Berkeley. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Damage is seen at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Five young Irish citizens were killed and at least eight other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Damage is seen at the scene of a 4th-story apartment building balcony collapse in Berkeley, California June 16, 2015. Five young Irish citizens were killed and at least eight other people were injured when an apartment balcony collapsed early on Tuesday in the Californian city of Berkeley, Ireland's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
The scene at Berkeley pic: NBC
The scene at Berkeley pic: NBC

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