Northern Ireland news

Irishman speaks of family's Italian earthquake fear

This week's earthquake has caused devastation in central Italy
Connla Young

An Irishman whose family was caught up in the devastating earthquake that hit Italy earlier this week has spoken of his terror.

Michael Burns (41) who runs the Finnegan pub in Rome, has spoken of how relatives had to flee their home in Amelia, about 80 miles form the epicentre, when the earthquake struck earlier this week.

The death toll has so far reached around 250 as the search for survivors continues.

They had to get out of the house because it was shaking so bad. Most of the neighbours did the same," said Mr Burns.

"They waited outside for 45 minutes wrapped in blankets before they felt it was safe to go back in again.

"I got a call from my family in the morning just after the quake hit to let me know what happened.

"Later in the day, they had to get out again when the aftershocks came.

“It was very scary for the kids, but thankfully no one was hurt."

Mr Burns said the area hit hardest by the quake was not popular with Irish holidaymakers.

"It's well off the tourism track and I'd be very surprised to learn there were any people from Ireland living in the area," he told the Irish Independent.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it has received no requests for consular assistance following the earthquake while President Michael D Higgins sent a letter of condolences to Italian president Sergio Mattarella.

Irish citizens with concerns about the quake are asked to call 01 408 2527.

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