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Massive grief for young lives lost in US, mourners told

By Ed Carty and Brian Hutton

Published 25/06/2015

Olivia Burke's funeral mass took place in Foxrock, Dublin
Olivia Burke's funeral mass took place in Foxrock, Dublin
The funeral of Niccolai Schuster took place in Rathgar, Dublin

A tidal wave of grief has crossed the Atlantic, a priest has told mourners at the funeral of one of the young Irish students killed in the Berkeley balcony collapse.

Crowds of disbelieving young people joined relatives for a second day of funerals in Dublin as the tragedy hit home yet again.

A priest at the funeral of Olivia Burke at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock spoke of the spontaneous solidarity shown over the last week.

Nowhere was it more evident than a few miles across the city in the Church of the Three Patrons in Rathgar where friends of Niccolai Schuster turned up to bid their fond farewells.

Parish priest Father Joe Mullan spoke of a tidal wave of grief and loss coming across the Atlantic.

"His leaving us so young has devastated John and Graziela and Alexei, mother, father and brother and best friend," he said.

Niccolai's life was symbolised through sport - a photograph of Beechwood football team, which he coached last year. Also displayed where a Bushy Park Rangers jersey, the team he set up, and jockey Ruby Walsh's racing trousers, representing his passion for the horses.

A Terry's Orange and MiWadi were also left, as his mother "was guilty of spoiling Niccolai with his favourite treats".

In Foxrock, the scenes were as poignant. On Tuesday, the church had played host to emotional scenes as farewells and tributes were paid to Olivia's friend from their school days at the local Loreto College, Eimear Walsh.

Yesterday the Walsh family returned to pray and say goodbye, while the family of Ashley Donohoe, Olivia's Irish-American cousin, who also died in the balcony collapse, attended. Father Frank Herron told mourners: "Our solidarity this week has been extraordinary and is a wonderful reflection of God's solidarity with us all."

Music star Hozier was among those who performed at the service. Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan joined US ambassador Kevin O'Malley and representatives of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and President Michael D Higgins at the funeral in Foxrock.

Among those in attendance in Rathgar were Health Minister Leo Varadkar and representatives from the Taoiseach's and President's offices.

The Schuster family yesterday attended the funeral of their son's friend, Eoghan Culligan, in Rathfarnham. The final funeral from the Berkeley tragedy takes place in Dublin today for Lorcan Miller, a UCD medical student.

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