Berkeley tragedy: Books of condolence open in Derry & Strabane

Mayor, Cllr Elisha McCallion pictured signing the Book of Condolence at the Guildhall.

Mayor, Cllr Elisha McCallion pictured signing the Book of Condolence at the Guildhall.

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Mayor of Derry and Strabane Council Elisha McCallion has opened two Books of Condolence for local people to express their sympathy for the six young people who lost their lives following the balcony collapse in California.

The books have been opened at the Guildhall in Derry and the Council Offices in Strabane.

The move comes as the grieving families of some of those killed prepare to bring their loved ones home for burial at home.

Relatives of many of the five Irish students and the sixth victim- an Irish American student- have gathered in Berkeley, California in the wake of the tragic events that have unfolded in the early hours of Tuesday.

The families, accompanied by the Republic’s Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deehan laid flowers and placards at the scene in Berkeley, which has been turned into a shrine of flowers and messages of support and sympathy.

Relatives of some of the wounded were at their bedsides meanwhile as some remain in a critical condition ,and others are treated for severe injuries.

The Book of Condolences will be open at the Guildhall from 10 am to 5pm daily, and at the Council offices, Derry Road, Strabane, from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

The five Irish students who were on summer visas had been celebrating at a 21st birthday party when the balcony they were standing on collapsed.

Mayor Colr Elisha McCallion said she felt it was important people in the Derry City and Strabane District were afforded the opportunity to express their sympathies and offer support to the families.

She said Derry and the wider North West region had very close connections to Berkeley in California and talks had been ongoing for some time about the possibility of twinning the two cities.

“Derry and the city of Berkeley have very close connections and we have a lot in common.

“Berkeley, like Derry and the wider North West region, is known throughout the world for its promotion of civil rights and the work it has done to promote equality.

“We have close links to its university and the two cities have much in common in terms of our history. I think it is important that we show our support and solidarity at this time of great sadness and loss, and would encourage as many people as possible to come and sign the Book of Condolence, “ she said.

Those killed were:

Ashley Donohoe, 22

Olivia Burke, 21

Eoghan Culligan, 21

Niccolai Schuster, 21

Lorcan Miller, 21

Eimear Walsh, 21