On the 2nd of January 2022 former UCD student and Berkeley balcony collapse survivor, Aoife Beary passed away after suffering a stroke related to the injuries sustained on a tragic day in the summer of 2015.

The collapse of a balcony on the 5th floor of an apartment building at 2020 Kittredge Street in Berkeley caused the death of 6 young people including UCD students Lorcán Miller and Nick Schuster.

After having survived the accident, despite suffering multiple serious injuries and requiring open-heart surgery, Aoife Beary survived although she sustained life-altering injuries. Earlier this month, Aoife passed away in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin at the age of 27 after having suffered a stroke a number of days before.

14 months after the incident, Aoife appeared in front of the Californian legislature. In front of lawmakers, she delivered heartfelt testimony which led to the passing of legislation ensuring greater oversight of the construction industry.

In 2015, Aoife was studying pharmacology at UCD. After her initial recovery, she returned in September of 2016 to complete her degree before going on to study at Oxford Brookes University in England in recent years.

Following the news of her tragic death, UCD Professor of Pharmacology Orina Belton paid tribune to her former student while speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme and expressed her shock and sadness at her passing.

She said ‘For me the tragedy is this beautiful young woman, with so much potential, so much to do, who had displayed so much courage and energy in overcoming her injuries from Berkeley, and her life has ended far too soon.’

Speaking about her time in UCD, Professor Belton said Aoife was an ‘incredible student’ with a ‘beautiful, questioning and enquiring mind.’ She spoke about Aoife’s graduation saying ‘to see her in September 2016 in the O’Reilly Hall receiving her BSc degree, to me really symbolised such hope and you know, what determination and zest for life can do. It was a wonderful day for her and her family and indeed for all of us.’

UCD also extended its “deepest sympathies” to the former students family and friends. Aoife Beary is survived by her parents Mike and Angela, her younger brother Tim, her younger sister Anna and her wider family.

Conor Paterson – Co-Editor