Balcony plunge victims remembered at second day of funerals

A worker measures near the remaining wood from an apartment building balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, Calif.
A worker measures near the remaining wood from an apartment building balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, Calif.

Thousands of mourners have gathered to pay their respects for a second day as two more funerals related to the Berkeley balcony collapse took place.

A mass was held for Niccolai Schuster at the Church of the Three Patrons in Rathgar while in another south Dublin suburb grieving relatives and friends gathered for a second day at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour for Olivia Burke’s funeral.

Yesterday it played host to emotional scenes as farewells and tributes were paid to Olivia’s friend from their school days at the local Loreto College, Eimear Walsh.

Father Frank Herron told mourners of the solidarity that has been on show since the tragedy over a week ago.

“The thought of six young people dying so far away in such circumstances and the thought of their parents and siblings having to make the long journey to bring them back home has pained us all,” he said.

“This week our community of Foxrock has reached out to each other probably as never before. In this building we looked for God and for each other.”

Fr Herron added: “Our solidarity this week has been extraordinary and is a wonderful reflection of God’s solidarity with us all.”

Among the mourners at Ms Burke’s funeral were relatives of Ashley Donohoe, her Irish-American cousin who died in the balcony collapse with the other five others and who was laid to rest in California after a joint service with Ms Burke on Sunday.

They died along with Lorcan Miller, a medical student, a class mate of Ms Walsh’s, and Eoghan Culligan, a school friend of Mr Schuster’s.

Ms Walsh’s family also returned to the church, a day after burying their own daughter.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan joined US ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley and representatives of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and President Michael D Higgins at the funeral in Foxrock.

Four gifts were selected by the family to remember Ms Burke including a Ted Baker bag for her love of fashion, a Loreto College journal to mark her happy years at school, a photo of her with her dog, a King Charles Spaniel Skipper and a throw with her life in photos printed on it which was a 21st birthday present.

Music star Hozier was among those who performed at the service.

The Schuster family yesterday attended the funeral of their son’s friend, Mr Culligan, in Rathfarnham.

A huge flag with messages and signatures was displayed at the front of the Three Patrons Church marked In Loving Memory Of Culli And Nick.

Many gifts were used to symbolise Mr Schuster’s life, including a racing programme, a sports jersey, a photo of Bangkok and another two large collages which were placed beside the casket.

Other gifts included a Beechwood photo and Rangers jersey, a Chocolate Orange and MiWadi, study notes and a map, a water bottle and a games console controller.