herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Liam Kelly

Tragedy

A haunting melody played by a lone piper this morning marked the spot where six young students lost their lives.

Friends dressed in Dublin GAA and Irish soccer jerseys gathered in disbelief outside the Library Gardens Apartment complex.

Mourners laid tributes to the students, including a hubcap from a car, Gaelic shirts, a can of beer and a packet of cigarettes - regular items from their young lives.

An Irish tricolour was placed on the railings of the building.

Cards written from those touched by the tragedy were beginning to pile up at 2020 Kittredge Street.

"Thank you for your kindness - the girls in the elevator," said one card.

"From all at St Mary's Rathmines, RIP," said another.

Another quoted a Seamus Heaney poem while one note was written in Irish.

Heads bowed, some of the young students made the sign of the cross as they tried to make sense of the utter devastation.

Young people who should have revelled in another day of J1 freedom instead came face to face with a nightmare.

Some of the parents and relatives of the deceased have arrived in the city.

Their first stop is the city morgue.

Families of the injured have gone straight to the city hospital, where two of the students are in a critical condition.

They will help the young people come to terms with broken bodies, broken hearts, and broken dreams.

The balcony was removed last night and will be carefully inspected for safety issues.

Locals gathered on the cordoned-off area from early morning yesterday to try to make sense of the tragedy.

COMFORT

Jennifer James, who originally comes from Waterford but has lived in nearby Oakland for 15 years, arrived at about 9.30am local time with a friend to offer comfort, support and a place to stay to any students affected by the tragedy.

"It's shocking. My nephew is going into second year in college so it could have been him - it's his age group, his peers," she said as she laid flowers.

"It's very upsetting because we know how it feels to be so far away and to live 6,000 miles away from your family. I'm thinking about the kids who survived and don't have any support here."

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