LISTEN: Berkeley victims remembered at Dublin funerals

Thousands of mourners have gathered to pay their respects for a second day as two more funerals related to the Berkeley balcony collapse took place.

A mass was held for Niccolai Schuster at the Church of the Three Patrons in Rathgar while in another south Dublin suburb grieving relatives and friends gathered for a second day at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour for Olivia Burke’s funeral.

Yesterday it played host to emotional scenes as farewells and tributes were paid to Olivia’s friend from their school days at the local Loreto College, Eimear Walsh.

Father Frank Herron told mourners of the solidarity that has been on show since the tragedy over a week ago.

“The thought of six young people dying so far away in such circumstances and the thought of their parents and siblings having to make the long journey to bring them back home has pained us all,” he said.

“This week our community of Foxrock has reached out to each other probably as never before. In this building we looked for God and for each other.”

Fr Herron added: “Our solidarity this week has been extraordinary and is a wonderful reflection of God’s solidarity with us all.”

Among the mourners at Ms Burke’s funeral were relatives of Ashley Donohoe, her Irish-American cousin who died in the balcony collapse with the other five others and who was laid to rest in California after a joint service with Ms Burke on Sunday.

They died along with Lorcan Miller, a medical student, a class mate of Ms Walsh’s, and Eoghan Culligan, a school friend of Mr Schuster’s.

Ms Walsh’s family also returned to the church, a day after burying their own daughter.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan joined US ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley and representatives of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and President Michael D Higgins at the funeral in Foxrock.

Four gifts were selected by the family to remember Ms Burke including a Ted Baker bag for her love of fashion, a Loreto College journal to mark her happy years at school, a photo of her with her dog, a King Charles Spaniel Skipper and a throw with her life in photos printed on it which was a 21st birthday present.

Music star Hozier was among those who performed at the service.

The Schuster family yesterday attended the funeral of their son’s friend, Mr Culligan, in Rathfarnham.

A huge flag with messages and signatures was displayed at the front of the Three Patrons Church marked In Loving Memory Of Culli And Nick.

Many gifts were used to symbolise Mr Schuster’s life, including a racing programme, a sports jersey, a photo of Bangkok and another two large collages which were placed beside the casket.

Other gifts included a Beechwood photo and Rangers jersey, a Chocolate Orange and MiWadi, study notes and a map, a water bottle and a games console controller.

More than 100 friends and school mates of Mr Schuster lined the route of the cortege as it approached the church, many wore the colours of his former school similar to the tribute at Mr Culligan's funeral.

Even more donned the jerseys of Mr Schuster’s beloved Bayern Munich, many of the tops with his surname Schuster emblazoned across the back.

Mourners spilled out onto the church grounds.

Hundreds packed into a side garden and around a small speaker that was set up to allow those who could not squeeze into the church hear the funeral Mass.

Among those in attendance were Health Minister Leo Varadkar and Micheal O Muircheartaigh, the legendary Gaelic games commentator and broadcaster much loved by sports fans.

The Irish Tricolour and the flag of the Vatican City, the Papal flag, both flew at half mast outside the church, named in honour of Ireland’s three patron saints.

Ms Burke's father Paul Burke drew her funeral to close with a reflection on her life from a shy youngster to someone who became enlightened, well grounded and confident with many groups of friends.

“She was a caring and considerate person, I think more worried about your problems than chatting about her own – although she did chat,” he said.

“She always had a smile and loved to have a joke and a laugh at any opportunity. She loved the nightlife, out there chatting, having a good time and especially a boogie on the dancefloor.

“But she countered this high life – before we get carried away – with hard work ... and really had a determination to be as self-reliant as possible and her work ethic could not be faulted.

“In fact, her steely determination to succeed, to achieve a set goal no matter how high or how low it was, or how easy or how difficult, was ever present.

“I have to say that work ethic is something I particular admired over the years.”

Mr Burke made a special mention for Aoife Beary, a friend of Ms Walsh’s and one of the six injured in the balcony collapse who remain in hospital in California.

The grieving father also recalled the friends that his daughter had made over the years including the Blane Road Club from the family’s time in Wicklow and those from Loreto College.

“I know you girls are hurting at the loss of both Eimear and Olivia, two of your group. I can safely say it’s been a pleasure knowing you girls over recent years and I’m sure Olivia and Eimear will smile down on you and wish you good luck,” he said.

Mr Burke recalled his daughter’s “cousin and soulmate” Ms Donohoe.

“Although they were separated by over 6,000 miles they were incredibly close, right from the time they played together as little 18-month-old kids be it in San Fran or in Dublin all the way until recent years when they continued to trade visits,” he said.

He said none were more surprising than Ms Donohoe’s arrival to celebrate Ms Burke’s 18th birthday.

“We will miss you so much Ashley. You two guys departed this world side by side and may you be together in God’s place and fondly look down on the rest of us,” Mr Burke added.


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