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Saturday 10 December 2016

California to consider new laws after Berkeley balcony tragedy

Berkeley balcony
Berkeley balcony
Clodagh Cogley
Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan (R), stands behind Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O' Malley while she announces that her office has filed seven accounts of murder with special circumstances and three counts of attempted murder against One Goh on April 4, 2012 in Oakland, California
Jack Halpin

CALIFORNIA is to debate changing State law in the wake of the Berkeley balcony tragedy to make it mandatory to report lawsuit settlements involving construction problems.

The move came after it emerged both the City of Berkeley and the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) were unaware Segue Construction, which built the Berkeley complex at which six students died, had paid out €23m ($26.5m) in lawsuit settlements over the past six years.

California State Senator Jerry Hill said it was clear regulations introduced in 2011 are not working as intended.

Five Irish students and one American woman died in the June 16 accident as a 21st birthday party was being held.

Seven other Irish students were injured when the fourth-storey balcony at the Library Gardens complex.

Berkeley inspectors examined the balcony and found severe dry rot in the eight support timbers.

Three separate investigations are now under way into the tragedy.

gala

Meanwhile, major fundraisers are planned in Ireland for the victims.

The Omniplex in the Swan Centre, Rathmines, will host a gala film evening for Jack Halpin (21) at 7pm on Wednesday, July 15.

Jack, an Omniplex employee, was badly injured in the accident but was hailed as a hero for helping break the fall of his friend, Clodagh Cogley (21).

"Jack is a valued employee here and we wanted to do something for his family and to raise money for his medical expenses," Omniplex manager Colm Kenny said.

A gala screening of Disney's new film Inside Out will take place, with a raffle and bucket collection.

A special fundraiser for all the victims will also be staged in The Academy, Dublin on July 23 with tickets priced at €25.

Nicky Byrne will MC the night with many bands and DJs taking to the stage including Jape, The Fontaines, Dublin Gospel Choir, Knights of Leon and others.

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