The mother of one of the six victims of the Berkeley balcony tragedy has paid tribute to her daughter and her five friends on the sixth anniversary of the tragic incident.
Jackie Cronin Donohoe, the mother of Ashley Donohoe, one of six young adults killed in a tragic balcony collapse in Berkeley, California in 2015, paid tribute to her daughter on Wednesday, the sixth anniversary of the shocking incident.
In a Facebook post, Donohoe wrote: "The Best Thing to Hold Onto in Life is Each Other.
"Can’t believe it’s been six years. Life will never be the same for the ones you left behind. We love and miss you every day. Time does not heal this wound.
"Always loved this video of Ashley. Out in the SF with her young cousins from Ireland a month or so before she died. She had so much passion for life, for people and would light up a room with her smile and laughter."
The Best Thing to Hold Onto in Life is Each Other. Can’t believe it’s been six years. Life will never be the same for the ones you left behind. We love and miss you every day. Time does not heal this wound. Always loved this video of Ashley. Out in the SF with her young cousins from Ireland a month or so before she died. She had so much passion for life, for people and would light up a room with her smile and laughter.Posted by Jackie Cronin Donohoe on Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Donohoe also shared a photograph of a colorful mural paying tribute to the six victims.
"Berkeley Six - Rest in Paradise." the mural said while candles burned underneath.
On June 16, 2015, Eimear Walsh, 21, Lorcán Miller, 21, Niccolai Schuster, 21, Eoghan Culligan, 21, Olivia Burke, 21, and her American cousin Ashley Donohoe, 22, all died when a fourth-story balcony collapsed in the early hours of the morning.
The five Irish students, who were on J1 summer visas, and Donohoe were attending Dublin native Aoife Beary's birthday party at the apartment complex in Berkeley, California when tragedy struck. Beary was also seriously injured in the incident; she suffered several broken bones and brain trauma and underwent open-heart surgery.
Six others also suffered non-fatal injuries during the collapse, which was found to be caused by rotting to the wooden support beams underneath the balcony.
A subsequent investigation found that the balcony had been built by a firm that had paid out $26.5 million in compensation over the previous three years but never reported it to the California Contractors State Licensing Board. Companies were not legally required to do so at the time and most settlements involved no admissions of wrongdoing. Many settlements also included confidentiality clauses.
New legislation came into effect on January 1, 2019, requiring contractors, subcontractors, and insurers to report most settlements reached in construction defect cases to the relevant authorities as a result of the tragedy.
In 2018, a plaque was unveiled near 2020 Kittredge Street in Berkeley where the balcony collapsed as a permanent memorial to the six Irish and American students who lost their lives.
"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," the plaque says, along with the names of the six students.
It also includes a quote from Irish writer and poet James Joyce: "They lived and laughed and loved and left."
Today @IrelandEmbUSA we remember those Irish students who lost their lives so tragically in Berkeley six years ago. Ashley, Eimear, Eoghan, Lorcan, Niccolai, and Olivia are in our thoughts, as are their families and friends, and those who suffered injuries on that terrible day. pic.twitter.com/tkIlfBNJCW— Daniel Mulhall (@DanMulhall) June 16, 2021
In Ireland, UCD dedicated its Rose Garden to Niccolai Schuster, Eimear Walsh, and Lorcán Miller, who all attended the university, while the Institute of Art, Design, and Technology (IADT) in Dun Laoghaire set up a scholarship fund in honor of Olivia Burke.
Dublin Institute of Technology, now the Technological University of Dublin, also set up the Eoghan Culligan Memorial Award in 2015 for the student who gains first place in the BSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management course.