From the President:
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Community supporters of the San Jose – Dublin Sister City Program, I extend our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the families and communities of the loved ones lost or injured in the balcony accident in Berkeley, California on Monday night.
Since these tragic events, we have been working with CG Philip Grant and the Irish Consulate to assist them in the response to the tragedy. As you know to date, the toll is six students – five Irish and one Irish American. Seven students currently remain in three hospitals in serious or critical conditions.
The Consulate is working with colleagues in Dublin, the local authorities, the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center, the J1 sponsoring agencies and the community to put in place relief and support services for students and arriving family. We expect that over the coming days, weeks and likely months three groups will need our assistance and support:
- Families of those six students who lost their lives, who are currently traveling over to bring home their sons and daughters
- The seven students who are being treated in hospitals, and their families who are travelling out to be with them
- The two dozen or so J1 students who were present when the incident occurred and who will be coming to terms with this devastating situation.
The Irish Immigration Pastoral Center in San Francisco is serving as the central point of contact for the Consulate to coordinate all community offers of assistance and ensuring that those who request it are given the services and support they need. They can be contacted by email to celine(at)sfiipc.org or in a phone message to 415-752-6006. Callers are asked to leave a message indicating what help they can provide and their contact details.
The Mayor is conveying official condolences to Lord Mayor Christy Burke for the Dublin Students lost and to Consul General Philip Grant for this national tragedy. SJD Board is extending similar condolences. We will notify you when the official condolence book is available at the Consulate Offices.
This evening, at 7:00pm, Bishop Barber of Oakland will celebrate Mass for the six young deceased students and for the recovery of their seven friends currently receiving hospital care at The Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison Street, Oakland (by Lake Merritt).
He will be joined by Fr. Brendan McBride, Fr. Aidan McAleenan and other priests from the Oakland and San Francisco Diocese. Friends, family and community members are invited to come together to remember and support.”
Additionally, Dean David Bird is planning a remembrance service at Trinity Cathedral on Sunday, the 21st at 10:30am and is coordinating a similar parallel service at St Joseph’ Cathedral. We will keep you advised.
The Consul General is establishing a memorial fund today and we will disseminate the information as soon as we can. These funds will be used towards supporting students and parents travel, accommodation and associated costs.
Santa Clara/ Limerick Sister City Program is coordinating with us in guiding Southbay Irish Community response.
Mark Finn of Cypress Semiconductor expressed last night that this is a huge tragedy for a very close national Irish Family — and its hard not to know someone directly related or affected by tragedy for these young victims.
As San Jose is the lead “twinned” community in the United States for the Irish, we need to view our support and response from the perspective that the City of Dublin and Irish nation as a whole, need our solace and our support.
Thanks a million!
Stephen T. “Tim” Quigley, Jr.
President, San Jose Dublin Sister City Program, Inc.