Berkeley balcony tragedy remembered six years on
The tragedy occurred in 2015.
Today marks the sixth anniversary of the balcony collapse that killed six people in Berkeley, California.
Five Irish students - Eimear Walsh (21), Lorcán Miller (21), Niccolai Schuster (21), Eoghan Culligan (21), Olivia Burke (21) and one Irish American citizen Ashley Donohoe (22) were killed in the 2015 collapse.
Seven others were injured.
The Irish Independent reported that Ashley Donohoe's mother posted a number of images on social media in tribute to the six people who were killed. She also wrote messages of support to the victims' families.
One photo shows a picture of wall with the words "Berkeley Six - Rest in Paradise" written in graffiti.
University College Dublin - where three of the students attended - shared a post on social media honouring all the lives lost.
On the sixth anniversary of the Berkeley balcony tragedy, we fondly remember the students who sadly and prematurely lost their lives - three UCD students Eimear Walsh, Lorcán Miller, Niccolai Schuster, and their friends Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan and Ashley Donohue. pic.twitter.com/qimGyYQNwk
— University College Dublin (@ucddublin) June 16, 2021
The US Embassy in Dublin also posted a tribute on Twitter.
"They lived and laughed and loved and left." Today we remember the J1 students who lost their lives in Berkeley, California and all those affected by the 2015 tragedy. The memory of Ashley, Eimear, Eoghan, Lorcan, Niccolai, and Olivia will remain with us always. pic.twitter.com/0PXVPKwIrm
— U.S. Embassy Dublin (@USEmbassyDublin) June 16, 2021
Following the collapse, the District Attorney of Alameda County launched a criminal probe into the circumstances that led to the fatal incident. An investigation determined that the balcony was built by a firm that had previously paid over $26.5 million (€23.7 million) in construction defect settlements. These defect settlements were not reported to the California Contractors State Licensing board.
Since then, however, new legislation requires all construction contractors, subcontractors and insurers to report most defect settlement cases. This legislation came in response to the tragedy.
Three years ago, a plaque was unveiled in Berkeley to honour the memory of the young people who lost their lives in the fall.
It read: "Berkeley, named after an Irish philosopher, will forever remember the six young 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.
"They lived and laughed and loved and left."
The colleges the students attended - UCD, Trinity College and IADT - have also installed memorials to the young adults.