Saturday 3 December 2016

'We can prevent the same avoidable mistakes' - Berkeley survivor Clodagh Cogley backs petition

Published 12/08/2016 | 07:34

Clodagh Cogley (Facebook)
Clodagh Cogley (Facebook)
A still picture of Aoife Beary addressing legislators in California's State Assembly
Aoife Beary and mother Angela at the California Senate Appropriations Committee. Photo: Mike Beary
Conor Flynn
Jack Halpin
Sean Fahey
Angela, left and Aoife Beary, center, listen with Vice Consul Kevin Byrne of the Irish Consulate General, right, as state lawmakers in the Assembly Appropriations Committee discuss SB465 in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Darcy Costello)
Hannah Waters
Ashley Donohoe’s mother Jackie gives her testimony Photo: Mike Beary
Clodagh Cogley
Niall Murray was injured in the fall

BERKELEY survivor Clodagh Cogley has backed an online petition calling for tougher building standards in the aftermath of the tragedy which saw six young students lose their lives.

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Jackie Donohoe, mother of victim Ashley Donohoe, launched the petition which has already been backed by 5,000 people.

Clodagh took to social media to give her backing to the campaign.

"Six wonderful people were taken from us last summer.

"Nothing can bring them back but we can prevent the same avoidable mistakes being made in the future.

"Please sign this petition and ensure that this doesn't happen again."

The Trinity student, who has been left wheelchair-bound after the tragedy in June 2015, posted a link the petition.

Ashley's mother Jackie said: "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.

Ashley Donohoe’s mother Jackie gives her testimony Photo: Mike Beary
Ashley Donohoe’s mother Jackie gives her testimony Photo: Mike Beary

"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.

"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.

Aoife Beary and mother Angela at the California Senate Appropriations Committee. Photo: Mike Beary
Aoife Beary and mother Angela at the California Senate Appropriations Committee. Photo: Mike Beary

"I have created this petition in honor of all those who were injured and those who no longer have a voice: Aoife Beary, Clodagh Cogley, Jack Halpin, Niall Murray, Sean Fahy, Conor Flynn, Hannah Waters, Olivia Burke, forever 21; Eoghan Culligan, forever 21; Niccolai Schuster, forever 21; Lorcan Miller, forever 21; and Eimear Walsh, forever 21; and my beloved daughter Ashley Donohoe, who had just turned 22."

The petition will be delivered to California Governor Jerry Brown, the State House and the State Senate.

A still picture of Aoife Beary addressing legislators in California's State Assembly
A still picture of Aoife Beary addressing legislators in California's State Assembly

Earlier this week, survivor Aoife Beary gave harrowing testimony to the committee hearing in Sacramento.

In her emotional submission to California lawmakers on Wednesday, Ms Beary said: "My life has been changed forever. I cannot believe that you are even debating this bill. People died.

"You should make sure that balconies are scrutinised in this state to prevent this happening again.

"I miss my friends so much. I have known them since we started school together at four years of age.

"We had grown up together and now my birthday will always be their anniversary," she told the California senate.

"While I have to deal with the loss of my friends, I also have to deal with all my own injuries, which included a traumatic brain injury, open-heart surgery, broken arms, hands, pelvis and jaw, along with losing all my teeth."

 

You can sign the petition by clicking here.

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