Irishwoman killed in terror attack in Tunisia
Published 26/06/2015 | 15:21
The Irish woman who was killed in a terrorist gun attack in Tunisia has been named locally as Lorna Carty.
Mrs Carty was a mother of two and a nurse who was from Robinstown, close to Navan in Co Meath.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has said that the possibility of more Irish victims in the attack in Tunisia cannot be ruled out.
The Minister was speaking after it was confirmed this evening that an Irish woman has died in a terrorist attack in the country.
Mrs Carty was holidaying with her husband Declan who had recently undergone heart surgery.
It is understood the pair were given the holiday as a present from a family member to help with his recuperation.
Fine Gael TD Ray Butler has spoken to the woman's husband. "He is absolutely distraught," Mr Butler said.
Mr Butler told Independent.ie:
“This was the hardest phone call I’ve ever taken. My heart goes out to the family who are enduring unthinkable grief.”
Speaking at a press conference in Dublin city centre, Minister Flanagan said that the Irish Ambassador to Spain is on route to the country to help liaise with families.
"I wish to confirm on the matter of Tunisia there has been an Irish citizen involved, a fatality.
"Our people in the department have been in contact with the family and their relatives.
"I cannot exclude the possibility of further Irish involvement," Minister Flanagan said.
"We are actively engaged with seeking further information. We don't have a full time embassy (there).
"Immediately following the atrocity, our ambassador in Madrid left for Tunisia he is expected to arrive shortly and he will report directly to me."
Minister Flanagan also moved to warn other Irish citizens who are planning to travel to Tunisia to "exercise extreme caution".
"Our priority at the moment is with those directly involved, they are remaining indoors in the hotel complex in Tunisia.
"We are working with the families of the bereaved. Our priority will be the safe return of Irish citizens at the earliest opportunity," he added.
"Our travel advice of anyone thinking in terms of travelling to Tunisia, is to exercise extreme caution on the matter of proceeding and I would be happy to make further information available as soon as it comes to hand."
Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office has confirmed that five people killed today are of British nationality - they have warned that the death toll is expected to rise and more British casualties are expected due to the "nature of the resort".
The attack in Sousse, on the eastern coast of the country, claimed the lives of at least 37 holidaymakers when a gunman opened fire on a crowded beach.
The attack happened at two hotels in the town, which is one of Tunisia’s most popular resorts with European tourists.
It is understood that the victim was on the beach when the attack happened. Her husband is not believed to have been on the beach at the time.
It is understood the family is prominent in Meath GAA circles.
A Sunway charter operated by Aer Lingus (EI4490) was due to depart for Monastir at 15.30 this afternoon. Our latest information is that this will now depart at 18.30.
Of 171 customers booked on the flight, 59 have opted not to travel in the wake of today's events. Sunway is offering these passengers a full refund.
The Department of Foreign Affairs told Independent.ie they have opened their Consular Support Line if anybody concerned has relatives in the area (01-4180200).
They said they are advising Irish citizens in Tunisia to 'follow the instructions of the police, tour operators, and their hotel staff'.
"We are aware of Irish citizens in Sousse," a spokesperson told Independent.ie.
"Given the number of Irish holiday makers in Tunisia we have opened a dedicated consular support line as a precautionary measure."
The Tunisian authorities have said that one assailant was killed after the attack.
The police operation to catch a second gunman behind the attack on the beach resort has ended with an arrest.
Irishwoman Elizabeth O'Brien is holidaying in the area with her two sons. She was not injured and ran from the scene with her two sons.
Speaking to RTE Radio One's News At One, she said she initially thought it was fireworks: “I just heard rapid firing, I thought it was fireworks, it sounds like gunfire.
“I ran to the sea and grabbed my kids and our things and, as I was running towards the hotel, the security on the beach started shouting ‘Run, run’.
“We ran to our room and now we are trapped in our room, the phone here doesn’t work to contact reception . The consul said there was a terrorist attack in the hotel next door, he told me to stay put, my travel agent said to go to the reception to speak to the rep , but I’m afraid so I’m stuck here in the room with my two sons.
“The agent said the attack was isolated to the hotel next door. The consul told me it was a terror attack.
“I just ran as soon as I heard the noise , I just thought of the museum incident a few months ago.”
At least sixty Irish people travelled to Tunisia with one travel company this week.
A motive for the Tunisian shooting is still unknown.
It is reported that holidaymakers of six different nationalities have been killed in the incident.
It is also being reported that a gunman has been killed after fire exchange with officers.
The attack is believed to have occurred between Hotel Bellevue and the Royal Kenzo Hotel.
The resort is particularly popular with Irish and British tourists.
A man at the scene told Sky News that tourists on the beach saw a gunman on the beach before they heard gunshots and everybody started 'running in and screaming'.
Tourists reported to lock themselves into their hotel rooms after the attack and were not sure of the emergency process.
On a day that is being dubbed 'Terror Friday' on social media, at least 25 people were killed in a suicide attack in Kuwait and one man was decapitated and several injured at an attack on a factory in south-east France.
Terror group 'Islamic State' have claimed responsibility for the attacks in France and Kuwait, but a motive for the Tunisian shooting is still unknown.