Thursday 16 August 2018

Plaque unveiled in US commemorating Irish victims of balcony collapse

Five of the students were from Dublin visiting the states while another, a cousin of one of the victims, was from America.

Eoghan Culligan’s coffin is carried during his funeral in 2015 (Niall Carson/PA)
Eoghan Culligan’s coffin is carried during his funeral in 2015 (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aoife Moore, Press Association

A memorial plaque has been unveiled in California to commemorate the Irish students who died after a balcony collapsed there in 2015.

Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Lorcan Miller, Niccolai Schuster, Eimear Walsh and Ashley Donohoe died when the balcony collapsed in the early hours of June 16, 2015.

Five of the students were from Dublin visiting the US on the J-1 visa scheme while another, a cousin of one of the victims, was from America.

The plaque, including their names and a quote from James Joyce, was unveiled near where the tragedy happened in Berkeley.

A ceremony was held on Saturday to remember them, attended by the victims’ families and Ireland’s ambassador to the USA Dan Mulhall.

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The plaque was unveiled near where the tragedy happened (Embassy of Ireland USA/PA)

Speaking at the event, Mr Mulhall said: “The Berkeley balcony collapse of June 2015 was a terrible tragedy and one which had an enormous effect on Ireland.

“The depth of grief, shock and sorrow was immense – six young lives so tragically and prematurely ended and serious injury inflicted on so many.

“I would like to pay tribute to the first responders, medical staff and our wonderful Irish community who provided such fulsome support for everyone affected, especially the young people and the families directly involved”.

The plaque reads: “Berkeley, named after an Irish philosopher, will forever remember the six young adults from America and Ireland, guests in this city, who tragically died near this spot in a balcony collapse at 2020 Kittredge Street early in the morning of June 16, 2015.

“Here, the families of those who passed and the community of Berkeley have joined hands to establish a permanent memorial.”

Press Association

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