Wednesday 18 October 2017

‘My birthday will always be their anniversary’- Berkeley survivor Aoife Beary tells hearing of devastation left behind

Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Dubliner Aoife Beary, who survived the Berkeley balcony collapse last June, told a public hearing in Sacramento, California about the devastation the tragedy has left behind.

Aoife was celebrating her 21st birthday party when the tragedy occurred and six young people lost their lives.

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
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

They were Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke, Niccolai Schuster, Eoghan Culligan and Lorcán Miller and Ashley Donohoe.

According to RTÉ, today at a state hearing in Sacramento she said: "I miss my friends so much."

The families of six students who died in the Berkeley balcony tragedy want Californian legislators to study building safety laws from New Zealand and Japan. Photo: Getty
The families of six students who died in the Berkeley balcony tragedy want Californian legislators to study building safety laws from New Zealand and Japan. Photo: Getty

"I’ve 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 hearing about the injuries she sustained which included a "dramatic brain injury, open heart surgery, broken arms, hands, pelvis and jaw along with losing teeth".

"I had lacerations in my kidney, liver and spline. I had a collapsed lung and broken lung. None of this needed to happen."

Aoife’s mother Angela Beary told the hearing she speaks on behalf of all the devastated families.

"I know I speak now on behalf of all the 13 families when I say as a result of the balcony collapse all our lives have been irrevocably changed and life will never be the same for us again."

Jackie Donohue, mother of Irish American Ashley Donohue who died said the young people who died on the balcony that night have been failed by a system that helps companies hide their negligence.

Mourners stand by during a candlelight vigil for six Irish students Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Berkeley, Calif. (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)

Construction Industry representatives today withdrew their opposition to a new law which will require them to report previous convictions for shoddy work.

Online Editors

Independent.ie Comments Facility

INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform Independent.ie to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland's draconian libel awards system.

We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website Independent.ie


Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News