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As a result of the recent Berkeley tragedy many young people and families across Ireland have been deeply affected. In order to help them through this upsetting time Barnardos have compiled some information to provide support through this tragic time.

For any members of the public who are looking for bereavement support, Barnardos are offering a helpline. The daily telephone service is operated by volunteers who are on hand to offer guidance if you have any concerns that young people or children that you know are affected by a bereavement.

Coping with a traumatic event such as what happened in Berkeley is hard for anyone and it’s important to be aware that if you or someone you know if having difficulty coping with this, there are support systems in place.

Barnardos are reminding everyone that if they feel the event and the trauma associated with such is becoming overwhelming or difficult to process that a conversation with your local GP is always an option.

Young people and children need support during this time too. Involving everyone in conversation and allowing them to express their concerns is necessary at a time such as this.

Information is key during this time and the huge volume of media coverage surround the tragedy can be overwhelming. Young people especially need to be aware that the coverage they are exposed to is from a reliable source.

Asking for support during this period is completely normal and Barnardos have made it accessible through either their website or the Barnardos Bereavement Helpline 01-4732110 where volunteers will be there to take calls from 10am-12pm Monday-Thursday.

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The tragic death of six young Irish adults in Berkeley, California yesterday is on the front page of almost every Irish paper this morning, but one publication in particular has come under fire for what is being called "insensitive" reporting of the incident.

The six students, five of whom grew up in Ireland, were killed following the collapse of an apartment balcony during a 21st birthday party in the early hours of Tuesday morning. 

Another seven students were injured, with two of them currently in a critical condition.

While most Irish publications have printed images of the students themselves, the collapsed balcony and the police at the accident scene, the Irish Daily Star ran this morning with a front-page image of four body bags along with the headline "Our hearts are broken."

A number of people – many of them involved in the media industry themselves – have criticised the paper for going overboard and using an image that is too graphic and sensitive for a front page, especially so soon after such a large-scale tragedy. Another publication, the Irish Examiner, also published an image of body bags, though it was a far more zoomed out shot of the same image.

Controversy first began when the Irish Daily Star tweeted an image of its front page via Twitter last night, around the same time that Vincent Browne began a nightly round-up of the next day's papers.

This is not the first time that the Irish Daily Star has come under fire for use of controversial images.

Back in 2012, the paper became the subject of an international scandal after re-running pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing while topless. The images were first published in the French magazine Closer, and the Irish Daily Star was the only Irish or UK paper who re-ran them. 

The paper's editor Michael O'Kane stepped down in late 2012 as a result.

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On Tuesday at around lunchtime local time in California (it was past 9pm in Ireland) police authorities named the six young people who were killed in Berkeley: Ashley Donohoe, 22; Olivia Burke, 21; Eoghan Culligan, 21; Nick Schuster, 21; Lorcan Miller, 21, and Eimear Walsh, 21.

They died – four of them by the time emergency services arrived – when the fourth-floor balcony they were standing on collapsed and came crashing down onto the street below.

It is believed that at least seven more J1 students currently remain in hospital suffering from injuries, some of which have been described as “serious or life-threatening”.

The six dead, who would have only arrived in the US in recent weeks, were an exceptionally talented and ambitious group of young people.

Their Irish families are all already en route to California, with most arriving in the late hours of Tuesday and early hours of Wednesday.

 

Olivia Burke, 21

A former pupil of Loretto Foxrock in Dublin 18, Olivia went on to attend IADT Dun Laoghaire. There, she was studying for a degree in business, entrepreneurship and management, and had just finished her third year exams. As part of her course, she had also recently completed a five-month work-experience stint with East Coast FM. Extremely popular and well-liked by her wide circle of friends, she lived with her family in south county Dublin. A fan of TV shows such as Glee and The X Factor, Olivia furthermore enjoyed keeping fit.

 

Eoghan Culligan, 21

Eoghan was studying at DIT. A native of Rathfarnham, he attended St Mary's College in Rathmines and sat his Leaving Cert in 2012. Throughout his school years, Eoghan was a keen rugby player, but GAA was his first love. He was a member of his local club, the well-known St Enda's in Ballyboden, since childhood. He had two brothers, Stephen and Andrew. Eoghan also loved travel, and had been abroad several times since beginning his third-level education. Indeed, just a few months ago, he was in south-east Asia on a trip.

 

Nick Schuster, 21

A classmate of Eoghan's at St Mary's, Nick was sports-mad, and had frequented the popular Pappy's Grill & Sports Bar on Telegraph Ave in the days before his death. Counting rugby, GAA and horse-racing among his interests – he loved Bayern Munich in particular: following the completion of his Leaving Certificate, he even visited the football club to meet his heroes. Studying at UCD prior to his death, he hailed from Terenure in Dublin 6 and his family run the popular Saba Thai restaurant in the capital's city centre.

 

Eimear Walsh, 21

Eimear was immensely bright and popular and had, like Olivia, attended Loretto Foxrock. Due to graduate in 2018, she was studying medicine at University College Dublin. She had one older brother, and lived at home with her parents in Dublin. Her mother, Patricia, originally hails from Westport in Co. Mayo. Earlier this year, Foxrock-native Eimear went on a UCD-organised ski-trip to the French Alpian region of Les Deux Alps.

 

Lorcan Miller, 21

Lorcan was also studying medicine at UCD, and was a former pupil at St Andrew's College in Booterstown. He was a member of the school's Junior Cup-winning hockey team in 2012 and was involved in the Bray Hockey Club. Following his Leaving Cert, he went inter-railing around Europe with his school-friends. Lorcan, who lived in Shankhill, also participated in several charity events during his time in university, raising funds for the likes of cancer research. 

 

Ashley Donohoe, 22

Ashley was the only member of the group who didn't grow up in Ireland. A native of Rohnert Park in California, she nevertheless held dual Irish and American citizenship. Olivia Burke, who also died in the accident, was her first cousin. Something of an adventurer, Ashley had been sky-diving and bungee-jumping. She was attending the Sonoma State University, where she was studying biology, and hoped to peruse a career in the health industry upon graduation. 

 

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The authorities in the US have named the six Irish J1 students who died today in California.

They are: Ashley Donohoe, 22; Olivia Burke, 21; Eoghan Culligan, 21; Niccolai Schuster, 21; Lorcan Miller, 21,  and Eimear Walsh 21.

It is believed that their families are already en route to the US and will arrived there later this evening.

The well-known St Mary's College in Rathmines tweeted at around 8.30pm that "many of the students involved" in the tragedy were past pupils who sat their Leaving Certs in 2012. 

RTE News also reported that the young people are thought to be studying at UCD. 

Speaking from California, Philip Grant, Irish Consul General for Ireland, this evening thanked those involved in the incident for their assistance. 

"On behalf of the people and government of Ireland I want to express to you the deep gratitude we have to the city of Berkeley; to the police and the fire services, to the emergency services who responded last night."

He continued: "We have thousands of Irish students who come to the States every summer on an exchange programme – they work here and they gain valuable experience here.

"They get to experience America and it's a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful time in many of these young people's lives.

"For many of my countrymen it's a formative experience and to have this happen at the start of this season is something that has left us all frozen in shock and in disbelief."

He added that for a small country like Ireland "very few had been left untouched" by what had happened. 

As well as the six dead, another eight were injured – some of them seriously – when a balcony on the fourth floor of an apartment building collapsed.

It's believed that the 21st birthday party of an Irish visitor was taking place in the apartment at the time of the accident, which occurred around 12.40am local time (8.40am Irish time).

The building in question has been named as Liberty Gardens, used as student accommodation for UC Berkeley students during term time.

Apartments like this are often rented out to J1 students during the summer months.

More than 8,000 students from Ireland travel to the US annually via the visa programme.

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A number of young Irish citizens have been killed following a tragic accident in Berkeley, California. 

Police are reporting that five people have died and another eight have been left injured following the collapse of a balcony on the fourth floor of an apartment building. Berkeley is one of many areas of California popular with Irish college students as a summer destination.

Local media are reporting that the victims are all aged between 20 and 25.

It's believed that the 21st birthday party of an Irish visitor was taking place in the apartment at the time of the accident, which occurred around 12.40am local time (8.40am Irish time).

The building in question has been named as Liberty Gardens, used as student accommodation for UC Berkeley students during term time. Apartments like this are often rented out to J1 students during the summer months. The fourth floor balcony is believed to have collapsed, with debris falling to the sidewalk.

Officer Jennifer Coats, a spokeswoman with the Berkeley Police Department, said that many of the injured have critical, life-threatening wounds.

Ms Coats said police were working with the fire department and city officials to confirm what exactly caused the collapse.

The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, today confirmed that Irish people were among those killed in the accident, and said his department were working closely with Ireland's Consul General in San Francisco to provide assistance to those affected and to families at home in Ireland.

Anyone with concerns about friends or family in the region, should call the Emergency Consular Response Team on +353 1 418 0200.

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