Republic of Ireland news

Nice attack: Irish citizen believed to among those in critical condition

A member of the public arrives with flowers at the French embassy in Merrion Square, Dublin yesterday. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA

AN Irish citizen was last night believed to be one of those critically injured in the Bastille Day attack in Nice.

It remained unclear if there were any Irish citizens among the 84 fatalities.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday confirmed an Irish man was one of those in a critical condition.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Kenny said: "While the position is not yet clear, it is understood an Irish man is critically injured in hospital".

A lorry hit crowds who had gathered to celebrate the French national day in Nice leaving at least 84 people, including at least ten children, dead.

Mr Kenny said he had been in contact with the Irish ambassador in France and officials from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs had worked through the night to provide whatever assistance they could to Irish citizens in the area and relatives at home.

Irish consular staff in Dublin and Paris have been manning phone lines for concerned citizens and relatives.

He said it was difficult to deal with the scale of such an incident but that diplomatic personnel were working to get a clear picture of the impact of the attack.

Mr Kenny said the clear advice to Irish nationals was to adhere to the directions of police and security services in France.

The attack comes just days before French President Francois Hollande was due to travel to Ireland for commemorations relating to the Battle of the Somme and for discussions in light of the Brexit referendum result.

Mr Kenny said the Nice terror attack was an assault on innocent people during an occasion of joy and celebration.

"Once again innocent people have been targeted at an occasion of joy and celebration," he said.

"French people have suffered appallingly and have again been the victim of cynical, and wanton violence.

"We cannot and will not yield to this malevolence.

"On behalf of myself, the government and the Irish people I want to express our deepest sympathies and our solidarity to President Hollande and to all of France."

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan urged Irish tourists in Nice to exercise caution and follow instructions from local authorities.

"I deplore the loss of life, and offer heartfelt condolences to the people of France from the people of Ireland," he said.

"This attack on people as they celebrated Bastille Day with friends and family on a fine summer's evening is particularly horrendous, and my thoughts and sympathies are with the relatives of the dead and injured."

Ireland's ambassador to France Geraldine Byrne Nason said consular staff took a relatively low number of calls overnight in Paris and Dublin.

The situation is being monitored on an early basis, she said, but French authorities have not released details of those caught up in the attacks.

"In such a barbaric and unforeseen attack the information will be slow to come in terms of hard intelligence about those involved in the incident," she told RTE Radio.

Ms Byrne Nason said it is hard to find superlatives now to describe how vulnerable people are.

"Really I think we move beyond anything that we can reasonably articulate as behaviour we can understand. It is utterly barbaric," she said.

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