Wednesday 18 September 2019

'I warned my family the Christmas markets were an obvious target'

The truck involved in the attack is towed away yesterday as forensic experts examine the scene. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
The truck involved in the attack is towed away yesterday as forensic experts examine the scene. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Gavin White

Irish people living in Berlin have said the city is "a sombre place" in the aftermath of the deadly attacks on Monday night.

Morgan Smyth (27) is originally from Bayside in Dublin and owns the Badfish bar on Stargarder Strasse in the east of the city, and has other business interests across Berlin.

People mourn at a makeshift memorial in front of the Kaiser Wilhelm Church. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
People mourn at a makeshift memorial in front of the Kaiser Wilhelm Church. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

He visited the memorial yesterday and said "everyone was visibly affected by it".

"We were running our annual Christmas party for our regulars in the bar when I went out for a second before coming back in and noticing everyone on their phones really shocked," he said.

Mr Smyth said he was very worried by the events as his family were visiting on Friday and had intended on going to the Christmas market when they arrived.

"I had actually said it last week to my family that we shouldn't go to the markets when they are here because they are such an obvious target," he said.

Mr Smyth pointed out that the Christmas markets were a place "full of tourists having drinks and just there to have a good time".

Another Dubliner resident in Berlin is Leah Mahon (27), an event organiser living beside the famous Mauerpark in the east of the city.

On her way home for Christmas, she said: "The airport was absolutely manic. It's usually pretty busy this time of year but the queues just weren't moving."

Read more: Irish in Berlin: 'People in Germany have been expecting this'

A market salesman is comforted as he visits the scene. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A market salesman is comforted as he visits the scene. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Ms Mahon said that although the atmosphere had been affected across the city, she believed the good nature of people in Berlin would shine through.

"I was on the train this morning and usually when the homeless get on the train nobody pays attention but everyone was really generous. Everyone was giving money," she said.

Ms Mahon said her biggest worry was the "effects of the media".

"I wasn't aware at all about the attacks until my brother Kyle texted asking if I was ok and there was only one [reported] dead at that stage," she said. "I think the media were jumping to conclusions, while Facebook did not help, using the terrorist tag before changing it to violent attack. It created fear among people."

Event organiser Leah Mahon
Event organiser Leah Mahon

Rory O'Connor (28), a journalist living in Prenzlauerberg, said "everyone was just shocked" when they heard.

"I was at home, thankfully when a sister-in-law of a friend told us from another part of Germany," Mr O'Connor said.

"You'd hope that an incident like this would not divide people in the city and I don't think it will."

Morgan Smyth
Morgan Smyth

Irish Independent

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