Video: RTE News' tribute to Berkeley victims was very moving

Hundreds of people attended the vigil for the victims in Berkeley last night
Hundreds of people attended the vigil for the victims in Berkeley last night

RTE News closed last night with a montage video tribute to the six young Irish students who lost their lives so tragically in Berkeley this week.

The video, featuring images of all six who died in the tragedy (Ashley Donohoe (22), Olivia Burke (21), Eoin Culligan (21), Niccolai Schuster (21), Lorcan Miller (21) and Eimear Walsh (21)), sums up what was an emotional day on on both sides of the Atlantic.


The montage that closed tonight’s RTÉ 9pm television news #Berkeley

Posted by RTÉ News on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Last night hundreds of Irish students and friends and relatives of those killed or injured in a balcony collapse in the US have held an emotional candlelit vigil.

One block from where the tragedy struck at a 21st birthday party in Berkeley, California, a park bench became the focal point for prayers and an outpouring of grief.

Candles, flowers and pictures of the six dead formed a memorial in Martin Luther King Jr Civic Centre Park, the main park in the college city, surrounded in a large circle by those who organised the prayers, some of those who were at the party and a small number of family members who had flown in from Ireland.

A deep feeling of solidarity with those affected by the tragedy was demonstrated by the attendance of hundreds of other students who had no connection to the dead and injured other than to be in the San Francisco Bay area for the summer.

A special mass was held around the same time at Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland led by Bishop of Oakland, California Michael Barber, and where Father Aidan McAleenan said relatives were focused on their loved ones and not the cause of the tragedy.

"At the end of the day what they want the most is to see their loved ones," he said.

Others at the park vigil had employed some of the J1 students caught up in the disaster while others had been wakened by the emergency response or phone calls from concerned parents in the middle of the night.

Rotted wooden beams are the likely cause of the balcony collapse that killed the students, the US city's mayor Tom Bates signalled yesterday.