Saturday 25 November 2017

Injured Berkeley tragedy student released from hospital


Sean Fahey
Sean Fahey
Jack Halpin who was badly injured in the Berkeley balcony collapse
Conor Flynn
Jack Halpin

One of the injured Irish students of the tragic Berkeley balcony collapse has been released from hospital and is making his way home to Ireland.

Sean Fahey suffered injuries in the balcony collapse that left six of his friends dead and six others injured, two of whom are described as being in a critical condition.

The Irish Consulate in the Western United States responded to the news on Twitter and wrote: "In solidarity to be near his friends and their families in the difficult days ahead".

The six other injured Irish students who remain in hospitals near Berkeley are making good progress, however they are not expected to travel home for some time yet.

The students have been in hospital since the tragic incident last Tuesday.

They are Jack Halpin from Rathmines, Conor Flynn from Mount Merrion, Niall Murray from Rathfarnham, Sean Fahey from Rathmines, Clodagh Cogley from Clonskeagh, Aoife Beary from Blackrock and Hannah Waters from Castleknock.

It is understood that Conor Flynn is expected to require extensive physiotherapy and other treatments.

He is expected to make a full recovery.

Doctors are also believed to be happy with the recovery being made by NUIG student Niall Murray (21).

Jack Halpin (21) is making progress in John Muir Hospital though it has been slower than hoped. He is being treated for back injuries and the two broken legs he sustained in the fall.

Clodagh Cogley (21) suffered extensive injuries to her legs and spine but it is understood these are non-life threatening.

Jack Halpin who was badly injured in the Berkeley balcony collapse
Jack Halpin who was badly injured in the Berkeley balcony collapse

Aoife Beary (21) has undergone extensive surgery in Highland Hospital. She was one of the worst injured and has undergone several operations.

Hannah Waters (21), a student in DCU, remains in Highland Hospital with Aoife. Former St Mary's student Sean Fahey (21) was said to be "recovering well" in Eden Park Hospital but remains under observation.

Meanwhile, Ireland's Consul General in San Francisco Philip Grant has been praised for his highly effective and compassionate response to the balcony collapse tragedy that claimed the lives of six Irish students.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore said that Mr Grant deserves credit for his hard work.

"The Consul General, Philip Grant, and the entire team in San Francisco have done a great job in very difficult circumstances," Mr Gilmore said.

"Last week we saw the Irish diplomatic service at its very best, standing with our citizens a time of heartbreak and tragedy."

Foreign Affairs staff worked around the clock to help the families and loved ones of the victims of the disaster when the balcony collapsed at an apartment block in Berkeley in California during a 21st party.

Former Junior Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Costello TD told the Herald that Mr Grant and his team "demonstrated a very high level of capability in very difficult and demanding circumstances."

Fianna Fail spokesperson on foreign affairs Brendan Smith added that he must be "commended on the compassion and sensitivity he has shown throughout this extremely difficult time.

"The respect and kindness which he afforded the families of the victims, those who have been injured, as well as the wider community, which has been left reeling from this awful tragedy, is unparalleled. He exemplifies the best qualities our public service has to offer," he said.

Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan visited the injured last weekend and praised the medical care where they were receiving treatment as "exemplary".

He said he was confident of good recoveries for the students he met, but could not elaborate without the consent of the families.

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