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Student friends are praised for 'faultless' help

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Published 22/06/2015

Grief: mourner weeps at service
Grief: mourner weeps at service

The families of the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse have praised the “manner and speed” with which fellow J1 students acted.

A statement issued by the Irish Consulate in San Francisco, on behalf of the families of Eoghan Culligan, Lorcan Miller, Niccolai Schuster and Eimear Walsh, said students’ actions were “faultless”.

“We cannot thank enough the students that were in the apartment that night,” it read.

“The manner and speed at which they reached out to our families and to each other was faultless.”

The families described their children, as “extraordinarily blessed in their friends”, before adding; “We are enormously proud of them. We would like to thank everyone in America and Ireland for their sympathy and support, which has been a tremendous comfort.

“The sympathy and responses of friends, of our sons and daughters, the wider group of students on J1 visas and the programme’s sponsoring agencies... is a testament to their popularity.”

The families also expressed their gratitude to the local authorities, emergency services, parishes and communities of Berkeley, the Irish authorities and Aer Lingus.

And they asked for privacy to  “mourn the sudden and tragic passing of our beloved sons and daughters, with the dignity that they deserve”.

The families of cousins Ashley Donohoe and Olivia Burke also issued a statement after a joint funeral service on Saturday.

“The family wants everyone to know that Ashley and Olivia were two intelligent, talented women,” the statement read. “They had bright futures ahead of them. We will fight to make changes so that no family will have to go through what we’ve been through for the past five days.”

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