Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness led condolences to the six Irish students killed in the Berkeley balcony tragedy last week pointing out that Londonderry has a special bond with the Bay Area city.
He referred to the city’s having been named after the former Dean of Derry, George Berkeley.
However, he began by expressing dismay at the “shocking, heartbreaking and catastrophic accident in Berkeley, California, which resulted in the tragic deaths of six Irish students and very serious injuries to many others.”
He added: “Ireland and the United States of America have enjoyed an unbreakable bond going back many centuries, and Ireland and Berkeley enjoy a
special bond as the city is named after the Anglo-Irish Bishop of Cloyne, George Berkeley, who was also, for a period, the Dean of Derry.
“Our hearts, thoughts, prayers, condolences and sympathy go out to the families of Olivia Burke, her cousin Ashley Donohoe, who lived in California, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcán Miller and Eimear Walsh.
“It has been a shocking experience for their families, and there is deep sadness all over the island of Ireland at the loss of those beautiful young people.
“Of course, we also send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Clodagh Cogley, Aoife Beary, Niall Murray, Hannah Waters, Sean Fahey, Jack Halpin and Conor Flynn.
“They are all aged between 20 and 22 and are all from Dublin, with the exception of one student, who is from Donegal.”