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Bodies of balcony collapse students arrive in Dublin

Top L-R: Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke, and Ashley Donohoe. Bottom L-R: Lorcan Miller, Niccolai Schuster, and Eoghan Culligan

The bodies of four of the five Irish students who died when a balcony collapsed at a party in California last week are being returned to Dublin today. The fifth will be returned soon after a joint funeral for and her American cousin.

Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke, Ashley Donohoe, Lorcan Miller, Niccolai Schuster, and Eoghan Culligan were all killed while celebrating a 21st birthday party in Berkeley.

Their families issued a statement of thanks to all those who supported them in the last week in the US and Ireland.

"As we leave Berkeley and return home to Ireland with our beloved sons and daughters, Eimear, Eoghan, Lorcan and Niccolai, we would like to thank everyone in America and Ireland for their sympathy and support, which has been a tremendous comfort to us at this tragic time," they said.

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Hundreds gather in emotional tribute to Irish students

Hundreds of Irish students and friends and relatives of those killed or injured in a balcony collapse in the US have held an emotional candlelit vigil.

Women hold candles at the vigil in California. Credit: Reuters
Young men place candles on the ground. Credit: Reuters
Photos of the victims including Niccolai Schuster. Credit: Reuters

Balcony collapse caused by 'water-damaged wood'

An investigation into the cause of a balcony collapsing in California killing six Irish students has found it may have been caused by 'water-damaged wood'.

According the to Associated Press, Mayor Tom Bates said that so far the investigation points to water damage being the possible cause.

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New York Times 'sorry' for balcony deaths coverage

The New York Times has apologised for an "insenitive" article relating to the deaths of six students in a balcony collapse in California, after Ireland's equality minister branded the coverage a "disgrace".

Workmen examine the damage at the scene of the balcony collapse in Berkeley, California Credit: Reuters

The paper followed up its initial reporting on the deaths of the 21 and 22-year-olds - five of them Irish and one Irish-American - with an opinion piece referencing the "drunken partying" of Irish students.

It claimed that an Irish-American exchange programme was an "embarrassment" to Ireland and suggested that the fatal balcony collapse had cast a shadow over the programme.

Ireland’s junior minister for new communities, culture and equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, called the article a "disgrace" and demanded an apology.

In an official statement issued today, the newspaper conceded that it had used language that "could be interpreted as insensitive".

"It was never our intention to blame the victims and we apologise if the piece left that impression," it added.

Mr Ó Ríordáin has described the apology as "pathetic" in a post on Twitter.

The six students were standing on the fourth-floor balcony at an apartment in Berkeley on Tuesday when the structure collapsed.

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Tributes to 'talented but modest' balcony collapse victim

The former headmaster of one of the five Irish students who died when a fourth-floor balcony collapsed during a party in California has paid tribute to the "incredibly talented but modest" young man.

Lorcán Miller was killed along with four others from Dublin and an American student.

Lorcán Miller Credit: Facebook

Peter Fraser, the headmaster at St Andrew's College in Booterstown, south Dublin, described Lorcán - a keen hockey player, choir member and a key part of the school's Model United Nations - as a "role model".

The one thing speaking to colleagues this morning was the fact that he was positive, engaging, decent boy who was incredibly talented, but normal, modest and balanced about it all. He was hugely popular.

He would have been very well known by almost everyone in the college, and in such a big school that's quite an achievement. He had a rounded talent. He was very keen on issues of social awareness and social conscience.

There's no question, he would have been one of your school's role models.

– Peter Fraser, St Andrew's College

Meanwhile, St Mary's College in Rathmines, Dublin, held prayers for former students Niccolai Schuster and Eoghan Culligan, who left for college in 2012.

Students killed in balcony collapse named

Six students killed in a balcony collapse in California have been named by US authorities.

Top L-R: Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke, and Ashley Donohoe. Bottom L-R: Lorcan Miller, Niccolai Schuster, and Eoghan Culligan

Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcan Miller, and Eimear Walsh, all aged 21 and from Ireland, died in the tragedy in Berkeley yesterday.

Ashley Donohoe, 22, an Irish-American from Rohnert Park in California who was related to Miss Burke, was also killed.

Their families are expected to arrive in Berkeley later today.

Balcony deaths 'heartbreaking' for Irish community

The shock of the balcony collapse which killed six Irish students have been felt through the Irish community in California locals have said.

One woman who left flowers at the scene of the accident said it was: "an absolute nightmare when we saw it. It's just heartbreaking to think that - we were such a close community at home. And we were such a close community here when we come out together."

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