Thursday 8 December 2016

'The truck was only 10 metres away when I saw it hitting a man - people were hysterical'

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 18/07/2016 | 02:30

Irish Ambassador to France Geraldine Byrne Nason chatting with Irish holidaymakers in Nice. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Irish Ambassador to France Geraldine Byrne Nason chatting with Irish holidaymakers in Nice. Photo: Kyran O’Brien

Counselling services are being used by Irish people who were caught up in the horrific massacre in Nice.

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A number of them attended the offices of the International Red Cross in the French city.

Among those to avail of counselling services was young barman Eoin Staunton (22), who witnessed the carnage along with his French girlfriend.

He said: "I tried to go back to work in the bar the morning after it happened but I found it very difficult.

"The counsellor I met in the Red Cross told me she had been to Afghanistan.

"What she told me about the effects of what happened really hit the nail on the head for me. It all felt like a dream."

Read More: In their own chilling words - eyewitnesses recount the horror of Bastille Day massacre

Eoin, from Tourmakeady, Co Mayo, and his girlfriend Lydia were among a group of friends on the Promenade des Anglais when a terrorist driving a truck began mowing down people.

"First, we could hear screaming and shouting. When we looked around, the truck was behind us," said Eoin.

"The truck came so quick. It was only 10 metres away and I saw it hitting a man.

"We ran to the right. We were so panicked we did not know where to go. We ended up down on the beach. People were freaking out. They were hysterical. I tried to calm people."

The first victim Eoin saw was the man that he had seen being struck by the truck.

"I'm still trying to absorb what happened. I go between feeling bad for what happened so many people and feeling good that I am lucky to be alive," he said.

VIDEO: 'I remember seeing bodies flying everywhere' - Galway barman describes Nice massacre

Meanwhile, Ireland's Ambassador to France, Geraldine Byrne Nason, told the Irish Independent that the embassy was still encouraging all Irish citizens to keep in touch with it if they are worried about anybody.

She added: "Sometimes in these events, people only realise 48 hours in that they haven't heard from someone, so we still want people to watch our website and contact us if there is someone that they are concerned about."

Irish Independent

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