Two students injured in Berkeley accident have strong Westport connections

The community in Westport has begun to express its sympathy and support for the families and friends of those killed and injured in the horrific balcony collapse in Berkeley California on Tuesday.

Two of the students involved in the tragedy, in which six young people died and seven were injured, have strong Westport connections.

A book of condolences opened at the civic offices in Westport and Belmullet yesterday (Thursday ).

The mother of 21-year-old Eimear Walsh, who lost her life when the balcony fell, is Patricia Walsh, nee McLoughlin, and is originally from the Quay area in Westport.

One of the injured students, Aoife Beary, is the niece of James O'Doherty from Carrabawn, Westport.

Her condition has been described as critical but stable.

Cathoirleach of the West Mayo Municipal District, Cllr Michael Holmes told the Advertiser yesterday, "all our thoughts and sympathies are with the families of those who have been effected by this tragedy. It brings it all a little closer to home with two of the girls being related to well known families in the area and our thoughts go out to them at this time."

Six students, five Irish and one Irish American, died and seven were injured when a balcony at an apartment collapsed during a birthday celebration just after midnight on Monday night/Tuesday morning.

The six deceased are Ashley Donohoe (22 ) from California and Olivia Burke, Eimear Walsh, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster and Lorcan Miller, all aged 21 and from Ireland.

The students were studying at UCD, DIT and the Institute of Art Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire.

Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, which was then adjourned as a mark of respect and sympathy to those bereaved, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the tragedy had resonated with every family in Ireland and parents could see the faces of their own children in the pictures of the victims.

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