A 22-year-old Dubliner who survived the balcony collapse in Berkeley, California, last summer has told a public hearing in Sacramento that her birthday will forever mark the anniversary of the death of her friends.
Aoife Beary was celebrating her 21st birthday when a balcony collapsed and six young people lost their lives.
They were Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke, Niccolai Schuster, Eoghan Culligan and Lorcán Miller and Ms Burke's cousin, Irish-American Ashley Donohoe.
"I miss my friends so much - I have known them since we started school together at four years of age," she told the hearing.
"We had grown up together, and now my birthday will always be their anniversary."
Aoife went on to describe some of the injuries she suffered - including a traumatic brain injury, open heart surgery and broken arms, hands and jaw.
"None of this needed to happen," she said.
Berkeley victims Eimear Walsh, Eoghan Culligan, Olivia Burke, Lorcan Miller, Ashley Donohoe and Niccolai Schuster
After the accident, families of the victims learned that the balcony had been built by a firm that paid out US$26.5m (€23.7m) in construction defect settlements that were never reported to the state license board.
Today, Ms Beary's mother Angela and Ashley Donohoe's mother Jackie appealed to California lawmakers to pass new legislation that would require greater transparency from the construction industry.
Vice-Consul Kevin Byrne of the Irish Consulate General was also in attendance.
Representatives of the construction industry at the hearing withdrew their opposition to the new law.
The proposed bill must be voted on by the committee by tomorrow if it is to progress to a full assembly hearing later this month.