Friday 23 March 2018

Colleges offering grief-stricken students counselling

Worshippers pray for the victims at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins
Worshippers pray for the victims at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Foxrock. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins

Sam Griffin and Emma Jane Hade

Colleges where the tragic J1 students were studying are offering counselling and chaplaincy services, and will be holding vigils and Masses in the coming days to honour those killed.

At UCD, where three of the dead students - Lorcán Miller, Eimear Walsh and Niccolai Schuster - studied, a book of condolences was opened online and in the college.

It already had thousands of signatures by last night.

"We cannot comprehend the desperate shock and grief they are feeling and we are heartbroken at their suffering and loss," UCD President Andrew Deeks said.

Counselling services are available to students while a senior UCD chaplain was also dispatched to San Francisco. A vigil is expected to be staged on the campus on Friday.

DIT, where Eoghan Culligan studied, has also opened a book of condolences at its Aungier Street campus. Emails were issued to students advising that support services remain available. A service of reflection will take place at 4pm today at Aungier Street for students and staff.

At the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) in Dún Laoghaire, where victim Olivia Burke had just completed her third year of the Entrepreneurship and Management business degree course, President Dr Annie Doona said they have also arranged counselling for students.

Dr Jim Browne, President of the National University of Ireland, Galway, said the tragic incident has "shocked the university communities across Ireland".

Flags were flown at half mast there yesterday in honour of the victims. It has also opened a book of condolences.

Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU said it offered "its most profound sympathies to the family and friends of all the victims".

"The promise of these bright young lives has been extinguished and that loss will be keenly felt by our colleagues in campuses across Dublin."

DCU student Hannah Water was among seven serious injured in the balcony collapse, and the university said it wish "her, and the others, a speedy recovery".

"Our thoughts are with Hannah’s friends and family at this difficult time and we thank all of the DCU students in Berkeley who continue to support each other.”

DCU has opened a Book of Condolence in DCU’s Interfaith Centre.

Irish Independent

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