Tributes pour in as memorials arranged for Berkeley balcony collapse victims

Tributes pour in as memorials arranged for Berkeley balcony collapse victims

TRIBUTES continue to pour in for the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse as memorials are organised in their memory.

Six young students died in yesterday's tragedy – five from Dublin and one Irish-American who lived close to where the accident occurred.

Dublin youngsters Eoghan Culligan, Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke, Niccolai Schuster and Lorcán Miller have all been confirmed died, along with Ashley Donohoe - a dual Irish and American citizen from San Francisco.

In Ireland the former schools and universities of the deceased are setting about marking their deaths.

At St Mary’s College in Rathmines, Co. Dublin a mass will be held at 7pm this evening in the school chapel in memory of Eoghan Culligan and Niccolai Schuster.

Both students took their Leaving Cert exams at the school in 2012.

The former school of Lorcán Miller, St Andrew’s College in Blackrock, has yet to finalise arrangements for a memorial to the 2012 graduate – but published a moving obituary on their website for the medicine student.

Meanwhile, books of condolence have been opened in locations across Ireland for the outpouring of grief from the general public.

University College Dublin and the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art and Design, two of the colleges that the students involved attended, have both received a huge response to their online condolence books.

The Dublin Institute of Technology opened a book of condolences both on its website and at its Aungier Street campus, where Eoghan Culligan was a third year logistics student.

Additional books have been opened in most of Ireland’s main cities – including Cork and Galway.

The deaths have also been marked in the Dáil, by Ireland’s political leaders

But while tributes continue to be made in Ireland, some international organisations have come under fire for their reaction to the Berkeley tragedy.

The controversial Westboro Baptist Church, who were vocal in their condemnation of Ireland’s recent vote in favour of marriage equality, claimed yesterday's tragedy was “payback” for the referendum.

The New York Times also came under fire for an article it published about Irish J1 students yesterday, which many claimed was in distaste.

The piece claimed that the J1 programme was “a source of embarrassment” for Ireland, prompting Ireland’s Minister of State for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordán, among others, to condemn the article.

The backlash caused the newspaper’s public editor Margaret Sullivan to “look into" the criticisms today and saw her apologise this afternoon for its use of "insensitive language".

Closer to home, The Irish Daily Star was also in the firing line for publishing a front page story which featured a prominent image of some of the victims in body bags.