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Saturday 3 December 2016

The lives of a generation have been changed - UCD president

remembrance

Members of the public during a memorial service in UCD, Dublin for the six students who died in the balcony collapse tragedy in Berkeley, California. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Members of the public during a memorial service in UCD, Dublin for the six students who died in the balcony collapse tragedy in Berkeley, California. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

The lives of a generation of students are completely changed by the tragedy of Berkeley, according to the President of UCD.

Andrew Deeks was speaking as hundreds of people attended a special memorial service for the six Irish students who died in the horrific balcony collapse.

He recalled how the dreadful news had broken on the campus on Bloomsday while a conferral ceremony was under way.

Shattered

"Our routine was shattered by the news of the terrible tragedy. We've lost six wonderful young people and the lives of a generation of students were completely changed," he said.

Mr Deeks quoted from Joyce's Finnegans Wake: "They laughed and loved and left," he said. "We will not forget them".

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina attended the event at Belfield, giving grieving relatives compassionate hugs.

The service was on the campus of the university attended by three of the victims, Lorcan Miller and Eimear Walsh who were medical students, and Nick Schuster who studied history and politics.

Among those who attended were Nick's father and brother of Nick and Lorcan's grandparents.

Beautiful music was provided by cellist Eithne Nic an Roigh - a friend of two of the students who died - pianist Killian Grumley-Traynor and soprano Emily Doyle.

President of the Students Union Marcus O'Halloran told the congregation: "The hearts of the entire student body truly go out to everyone affected by the trag- edy," and quoted a proverb: "Say not in grief 'he is no more', but live in thankfulness that he was."

In his homily, college chaplain Fr Leon O Giollain paid tribute to the huge amount of support which flowed in from the Irish communities both at home and abroad.

"All this tells us is that it really is love that makes the world go around. Love conquers all," he said.

Prayers were said for the three other young people who died - Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Ashley Donohoe - and those who remain injured in hospitals across San Francisco.

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