STAFF at the University of Limerick have paid tribute to Karen Buckley, after her remains were found in a farm outside Glasgow this morning following a four-day search to locate her.
A 21-year-old man has been formally arrested in relation to the investigation after being detained for questioning on Wednesday. He is expected to appear at a private hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Friday.
Police confirmed this Thursday afternoon that the remains of those of Karen Buckley, and a brief statement from the family was read out, saying they are heartbroken and asking for privacy to grieve.
The 24 year-old, whose life was tragically cut short, had many connections with Limerick, and her heartbroken mother Marion, 61, is from Galbally, about an hour’s drive from their home in Mourneabbey outside Mallow.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has also extended their sympathies to the family, friends and nursing colleagues of the deceased.
“Karen was a member of the INMO as a student nurse in University Hospital, Limerick. Her family and her former colleagues in UHL are in our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time,” they said.
Dozens of her friends in Limerick had been appealing for her safe return, and are now involved in a fundraising campaign to help her family in any way that they can.
One of her close friends, Julie Malone, a graduate of LIT, wrote today: “There are so many broken hearts today for you Karen. If there is one thing your friends and family can do for you now is to remember you for you, the intelligent, kind, beautiful, happy girl we all know and love and not for this last week.
“I just want to thank Karen’s housemates in Scotland for reporting her missing so quickly, the incredible efforts of the Scottish police force that used all the efforts and resources in a bid to find her. My life is richer that you have been in it Karen and you will be forever in my heart. I miss you more than anyone could ever imagine.”
A spokesperson for UL said they and in particular the department of nursing and midwifery have been “deeply saddened” her disappearance and “the tragic reports from Glasgow in relation to the search to find her.”
“Karen was a very valued member of the UL community as well as the wider nursing and medical communities in Limerick, having spent time working in both the University Hospital Limerick and the University Maternity Hospital.
“The thoughts of the entire UL community are with her parents and family and her wide circle of friends as well as her UL classmates and medical colleagues,” they said in a statement this Thursday.
The university where she began her nursing studies is remembering a popular graduate whose “main aim in life was to help people”.
A candle and photograph of her rests on a table in the reception area of the Health Science Building in UL, where she graduated with a degree in general nursing in January 2014.
A mass took place this lunchtime in the UL Contemplative to pray for the Cork woman remembered by former teaching staff as a “bright engaging student” and the perfect candidate for a career nursing.
“I knew Karen over the four years she was here. She was an excellent student, she had such an open and bubbly personality and was very popular and because of that she made lots of friends,” said Anne Fahy, course director for the BSc in nursing programme at UL.
“She had a very kind heart and her whole aim in life was to help people, which is very evident from all the support that we are getting from people in the past few days and the acknowledgement from around the world.
During her four years in Limerick Karen spent a large portion of her time working with the local health service including University Hospital Limerick and St John’s Hospital in Ennis.
“She was a beautiful girl in the sense that she was very open and extremely obliging and helpful. All of the health service partners would have had great praise [for Karen] and we have had lots of contact from them over the last few days in support and expressing concern about her,” added Ms Fahy.
Dr Pauline O’Reilly, head of the nursing and midwifery department at UL, said the entire college community is shocked and saddened by the tragic news.
“When you start a career in nursing you meet friends and those friends are friends for life, so our thoughts are with her friends and her colleagues,” said Dr O’Reilly.
“I would have taught Karen myself and she would have been a very bright and a very engaging girl. Many of our students go on to do Masters in Midwifery or Occupational Health and that was the path that Karen did take after working for a number of months as a general nurse.”
Tommy Bolger, president of UL students’ union, said students were greatly “shocked and saddened” by the news.
“The feeling on campus and on social media has been very sombre all week. It’s just shocking and hard to take in,” he said.
Denyse O’Brien, a friend of the family, who is also from Mourneabbey but now resides in Limerick, was among those who attended a special vigil for the occupational therapy Masters student in Mourneabbey on Wednesday night.
“There is something very sad about coming from a loving farm and ending up on a farm, I just find that very upsetting for the family and for everybody,” said Ms O’Brien.
Specialist police divers, a helicopter crew and search dogs have all been involved in the search for the qualified nurse, who only recently moved to Glasgow to study occupational therapy.
Her handbag was discovered in Glasgow’s Dawsholm Park on Tuesday and later officers began searching land around High Craigton Farm near Milngavie.
A group of students, who all studied nursing with Karen in UL, have raised over €60,000 for her family, with donations from over 2,400 people to date, though the figure continues to rise. The fund is due to close at 9.30pm this Thursday.
People are donating £5, £10 and £20 to the ‘Help Find Karen’ page every few minutes. The page has been shared over 7,800 times.
The page reads: “This page has been set up by Karen’s University of Limerick nursing classmates in the hope of raising funds to help Karen’s family in any way possible during this difficult time.
“Please donate anything you can to assist with accommodation expenses, travel expenses and upkeep of their farm in Co. Cork.”
The funds continue to rise this morning as news broke of the discovery of human remains in the search for Karen.
Two of her brothers, Kieran and Damien, were flying home from Sydney in Australia this week to be at their parents’ side during this agonising time.
Karen is the only daughter of John and Marion Buckley, and one of four children.
A mass of hope for the family was celebrated on Wednesday evening in the parish of Mourneabbey in the Diocese of Cloyne.
After graduating from UL in 2013, Ms Buckley had spent a year working in Essex.
She was seen leaving The Sanctuary nightclub, 59 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, at 1.02 am on Sunday, and left with a man to go to his apartment.
To make a donation see this link: http://www.gofundme.com/s3k8ry2jg