Wednesday 17 January 2018

Berkeley tragedy: Irish Consulate praises JK Rowling for 'rising spirits' of Berkeley survivors

Jack Halpin and Clodagh Cogley, two of the seven Irish students seriously injured in Berkeley
Jack Halpin and Clodagh Cogley, two of the seven Irish students seriously injured in Berkeley
Aoife Beary
Jack Halpin
Conor Flynn
Hannah Waters
Niall Murray
Clodagh Cogley
Sean Fahey

David Kearns

The Irish Consulate in San Francisco has thanked JK Rowling for "lifting spirits just when we needed it" after the Harry Potter author reached out and wished the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse a "speedy recovery".

Posting on her official Twitter account last week, the author wrote "Wishing Clodagh Cogley a very speedy recovery and sending much love to her, her friends and family xxx" following an appeal from her brother and friends, who said the young student was a big Harry Potter fan.

Today, the Irish Consulate in San Francisco, who has been helping the families and friends of those killed and injured in Berkeley, wrote to Ms Rowling to thank her for taking the time to write to Ms Cogley.

Read More: Berkeley tragedy: Remains of Olivia Burke arrive in Dublin accompanied by family and over 30 friends

"Thanks to you and all those who continue to reach out to our students and our families. It lifted spirits just when we needed it," they said.

The granddaughter of legendary RTE rugby commentator Fred Cogley, Clodagh suffered extensive injuries to her legs and spine.

Her brother Daragh had asked JK Rowling to contact his sister because she has been listening to Harry Potter audio books while in hospital.

Read More: Injured students face lengthy wait ahead of return home for treatment

"Hi, my sister Clodagh was involved in the Berkeley tragedy and is recovering in hospital listening to Harry Potter audio books," Daragh tweeted the English writer.

"If you, Harry, Ron or Hermione would be able to send on any sort of message it would mean the absolute world to her."

The appeal had attracted the attention of a number of other well wishers who added their tweets to the online @jk_rowling campaign.

Clodagh Cogley (21) was one of the seven seriously injured following the balcony collapse in California that killed six other young students.

Read More: Victims' families praise 'faultless' action of fellow J1 students

Ashley Donohoe (22), Olivia Burke (21), Eoghan Culligan (21), Niccolai (Nick) Schuster (21),  Lorcan Miller (21) and  Eimear Walsh (21) were killed when the fourth-floor balcony of an apartment complex on Kittredge Street collapsed.

Their bodies have since been returned to Ireland. 

Ms Clodagh, along with Jack Halpin (21), Hannah Waters (21), Aoife Beary (21), Niall Murray (21), Sean Fahey (21) and Conor Flynn (22), were hospitalised following the incident and remain in the United States.

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