Republic of Ireland news

Berkeley students remembered in tree planting ceremony

Michael D Higgins will plant a tree in Berkeley to remember the students who were killed when a balcony collapsed

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins is to plant a tree in Berkeley in memory of the students who lost their lives when a balcony collapsed in the Californian university town.

Five Irish students, Lorcán Miller, Eimear Walsh, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster and Olivia Burke, and American student Ashley Donohoe died when the balcony collapsed during a birthday party in June.

Niall Murray and Hannah Waters, both from Dublin, were among the seven students seriously injured in the incident.

Speaking in San Jose, President Higgins said he would travel to Berkeley to express his gratitude to the first responders and volunteers who had provided assistance to the families involved in the tragedy.

He said that the “speed and professionalism” displayed by those at the scene astonished people in Ireland and “moved everyone very deeply”.

President Higgins also praised the “generosity and care” shown to the students and their families.

George and Jackie Donohoe, whose daughter Ashley was one of those who died, are to present maps of Ireland and the United States to staff from the Santa Clara Valley Medical Centre, on behalf of the Murray, Cogley, Waters and Beary families, whose children received treatment there.

Later, the president will plant a tree in the Berkeley civic park, near to the apartment block where the balcony collapse occurred, in memory of the six young people who lost their lives.

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