Northern Ireland news

Ballyclare woman's terror after being caught up in Nice attack

Amanda Ferguson
15 July, 2016 12:00

A traumatised woman from Northern Ireland has spoken of the fear her family experienced after a lorry ploughed through a crowd during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice killing at least 84 people.

And it has emerged that an Irish man is critically ill in hospital following the atrocity.

Taoiseach End Kenny confirmed the news on Friday morning, adding: "While the position is not yet clear, it is understood an Irish man is critically injured in hospital."

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it was "following up urgently" on concerns for the man as well as working with the Irish Embassy in France for the welfare of all Irish citizens in the Nice area.

Zoe Tisdale from Ballyclare is in the French city on holiday with her husband and their two children - Molly and Finn.

She spoke to Q Radio about the panic among those standing on the Promenade des Anglais on Thursday night.

"Some people just started running and we heard all these bangs," she said.

"At that stage we weren't sure what it was because people had been setting off fireworks in the street and everything before they actually started.

"We kind of just looked at each other for a minute and thought something isn't right

"Everybody just started running, people were screaming and shouting."

The Tisdale family made it back to safety of the apartment they are renting and it began to sink in how close they had been to the lorry.

"We realised how lucky we had been," she said.

At least 84 people are dead, including children, and a further 18 people are in a critical condition in hospital

The driver of the lorry was shot dead by police.

France has declared three days of national mourning, beginning on Saturday.

The First Minster and Deputy First Minster issued a joint statement through Stormont's Executive Office offering sympathies to the people of the country.

Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones or have been seriously injured in this vicious attack.

Audio: Zoe Tisdale speaks about the attack in Nice

"Many of our football supporters enjoyed attending the European Championships in France in recent weeks and the scene of devastation and pain this morning are in stark contrast to the carnival atmosphere and warmth people from across Europe enjoyed.

"The people who carried out this attack want to create fear and division. Their actions have resulted in the loss of many lives of people of different nationalities. Their acts are futile and will serve only to strengthen our resolve and determination that democratic means are the only way forward.

"We offer our deepest sympathies and support to President Hollande and all the people of France."

A book of condolence will open at Belfast City Hall at 11am on Monday.

Tonight the building will be lit blue, whit and red - the colours of the French flag.

15 July, 2016 12:00 Northern Ireland news