Father of Berkeley victim Ashley Donohoe: 'The worst day of my life'

Ashley Donohoe
Ashley Donohoe

The father of one of the young students killed when a balcony collapsed in California has spoken emotionally of his loss, describing it as "the worst day of his life"

The dead have been named as Eoghan Culligan, Nick Schuster, Lorcán Miller, Eimear Walsh and Olivia Burke, all 21 years old and friends from south Dublin, police confirmed.

The sixth fatality is Irish-American Ashley Donohoe (22), from California, who was with the group to celebrate the 21st birthday of Aoife Beary, who was on a summer work visa. Ashley's parents are understood to be originally from Ireland. She is understood to be a cousin of Olivia Burke.

Ashley father, George, said it was the “worst day of his life”. He described Ashley as a “fine, vibrant young woman” and said he feels deeply for the families of the other victims.

UCD student Eimear was working at sushi restaurant Hana Zen with her friend and housemate, Olivia Burke, who was also killed in the incident.

Restaurant owner Alvin Louie said Eimear has started working at the restaurant at the beginning of June as a hostess and had so impressed her managers with her enthusiasm that she had already been promoted to waitressing. She had worked her first day as a waitress on Monday.

"They were great young kids, very enthusiastic, full of energy," he told a local newspaper, "We're all devastated."

The President of Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dr Annie Doona, said Olivia had just completed the third year of an entrepreneur and management course, and described her as "very well respected"

Olivia had gone to Canada last year, and this year decided to go to Berkeley where she was working in a restuarant and "was enjoying herself and making friends".

"South county Dublin is quite a small community, and there was a group already in Berkeley who knew each other, and would have socialised over here," she added on RTE Radio One.