Aoife Beary describes losing her life-long friends in tragic balcony collapse

Angela and Aoife Beary
Angela and Aoife Beary

Berkeley balcony survivor Aoife Beary testified in public for the first time at a California State Senate hearing to force building contractors to be more transparent.

Aoife (22) from Blackrock, Co Dublin, survived the horrific accident that saw six of her friends killed when a balcony collapsed at the Library Gardens Apartments in Berkeley, California. A further seven students were left with life-changing injuries after the accident, during Aoife's birthday party celebrations on June 16, 2015.

The balcony was constructed by a firm that had a history of legal claims against it, which it had not disclosed to the state license board.

In heartbreaking testimony, Aoife told the California Assembly Appropriations Committee that the accident changed her life foreve

"Some of my injuries will be with me for the rest of my life," she said. "I cannot believe why you're even debating this bill - people's lives. You should ensure all balconies are scrutinised in this state to prevent this from happening again."

If the bill is passed, legislators will be forced to research ways to protect the public against negligent contractors with previous lawsuits against them.

Aoife underwent open heart surgery, suffered multiple broken bones, organ lacerations and lost some of her teeth. She told the committee that she is less independent and may never be able to obtain the pharmacology degree she was studying for before the accident.

Students Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcán Miller, Eoghan Culligan (21) and Ashley Donohoe (22) died in the balcony collapse.