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02nd Jan 2022

Berkeley balcony survivor Aoife Beary dies aged 27

Sarah McKenna Barry

Ms Beary died in Beaumont Hospital yesterday evening after suffering a stroke.

Aoife Beary, who was one of the Irish students injured in the Berkeley balcony collapse of 2015, has passed away aged 27.

The Irish Times reports that Ms Beary died in Beaumont Hospital yesterday evening after suffering a stroke.

In recent years, she was studying in Oxford Brookes University in England.

Beary was among seven other young people who were injured in the balcony collapse that killed Lorcán Miller, Eimear Walsh, Niccolai Schuster, Eoghan Culligan, Olivia Burke and Ashley Donohoe.

Aoife sustained a brain injury, multiple broken bones and organ lacerations in the fall. She was treated at rehabilitation facilities both in California and Dublin.

She also had to undergo open heart surgery.

After the balcony collapse, Ms Beary pushed for building companies to release their public safety records, and to report any work-related crimes to settlements in the State of California.

In 2016, she appeared before the California State Legislature to testify about her experience. While there, she spoke about the need for contractors to be transparent to prevent another tragedy from taking place.

She told the Committee: “My friends and I were so looking forward to our summer in Berkeley. We had already travelled a lot and spent our summers together in Vancouver, Thailand and Vietnam since we had started college. I could never have imagined how it could have ended.

“My life has changed forever. I cannot believe why you are even debating this Bill. People died.”

Following the 2015 balcony collapse, it was found that the company who constructed the building had a history of legal claims made against them. These claims, however, were not disclosed to the State’s regulatory body.