herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

Emergency crews from Berkeley are honoured

Consul General Philip Grant alongside Berkeley police officer Stephanie Polizziani and her Irish-American husband, officer Kevin Neff.
Consul General Philip Grant alongside Berkeley police officer Stephanie Polizziani and her Irish-American husband, officer Kevin Neff.
Workers examine a balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, June 16, 2015.

Emergency crews who rushed to help Irish students after the catastrophic balcony collapse in Berkeley are being honoured in America.

The Irish consulate office in San Francisco posted a tweet showing a picture of Consul General Philip Grant alongside two police officers at an event.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs explained that the event was organised by a community organisation in San Francisco.

"They are called Triple I, and they are an organisation with representatives from the Irish, Israeli and Italian communities," she said.

"They have three lunches a year on the national days of the three different countries.

Columbus Day was held yesterday in the States, which is observed by many Italian-Americans as a celebration of their heritage.

The lunch last weekend was held to honour Italian-Americans who had been among the first responders to the Berkeley incident, especially those with Irish connections.

The photo on Twitter showed Mr Grant alongside Berkeley police officer Stephanie Polizziani and her Irish-American husband, officer Kevin Neff.

There will be another big event at the end of this week, organised by the Alameda County Emergency Medical Services

"They will be honouring the firefighters, police and ambulance people who responded to the Berkeley incident," a spokesperson said.

In the photo posted on Twitter, it said that "Berkeley's finest" were being honoured at the Triple I Columbus Day event.

"Officers who went way beyond the call of duty," it said.

Five 21-year-old Dublin students, Eimear Walsh, Eoghan Culligan, Lorcan Miller, Nick Schuster and Olivia Burke, and Ms Burke's Irish-American cousin Ashley Donohoe (22), were killed when the fourth-floor balcony they were standing on collapsed at a 21st birthday party last June.

Seven other Irish students were badly injured.

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