Outraged families of the Berkeley victims have slammed the New York Times for their “disgraceful” and “insensitive” article.
Erin Flynn, who is a sister of injured Conor Flynn, and Sheila Sharma, first cousin of the late Eimear Walsh, said they were disgusted by the piece which appeared on Wednesday.
The article entitled “Deaths of Irish Students in Berkeley Balcony Collapse Cast Pall on Program” was posted on the American newspaper’s website, accompanied by a picture of inspectors on a crane assessing the balcony.
It sparked fury after it claimed the J1 visa programme was a “source of embarrassment” for Ireland.
In a letter to the New York Times editor, Erin wrote: “I am absolutely appalled after reading the article on the Berkeley incident in your newspaper.
“Let me introduce myself, I am an Irish student, I am a sister to one of the INNOCENT boys involved and I am friends with others involved.
“How dare you. How insensitive of you. You should be ashamed of yourselves to imply that because they were drinking they should be to blame for YOUR country’s poor engineering, I am disgusted.
“I write this on the way to the airport with my crying mum, how dare you make our hurt any worse?
“You should be apologising, not writing a cheap article misinforming an entire nation.