THERE was a hush of respectful silence in the Dail chamber today as the Taoiseach expressed his profound sorrow at the news of the tragic deaths in California.
Normal business was put on hold as Mr Kenny was joined by other leading politicians in expressing their sympathies with the bereaved families and those injured in the Berkley College accident.
“My heart breaks for the parents who have lost their children this morning,” Mr Kenny said.
The Taoiseach said his thoughts were also with other parents waiting fretfully for news from children who may be currently visiting California.
Mr Kenny said it was with great sadness that he confirmed indications that all of those involved in the tragic accident were Irish.
The Taoiseach said the consul general in San Francisco and his colleagues were on hand to help everyone affected by the accident. He said the Department of Foreign Affairs emergency number opened in Dublin.
Mr Kenny said he had been contacted by the US Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, to relay the sympathies of the American people.
The Taoiseach said Ambassador O’Malley had recently welcomed a number of Irish students preparing to travel to the USA on the so-called “J1 visa”.
Mr Kenny said it was doubly tragic that such an incident could occur “at the start of a summer adventure” for young people.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said his thoughts and prayers were with the bereaved families and injured people.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams expressed sympathy on behalf of his colleagues and Deputy Finian McGrath spoke on behalf Independent TDs.