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Wednesday 21 August 2019

■ Irishwoman whose boyfriend was shot relives Paris terror

Trauma: Katie Healy and boyfriend David Nolan, who were lucky
to escape the Paris concert massacre with their lives
Trauma: Katie Healy and boyfriend David Nolan, who were lucky to escape the Paris concert massacre with their lives

Mark O'Regan

An Irishwoman whose boyfriend was shot in the Paris terrorist attacks has told how they "played dead" while people around them were being massacred.

Katie Healy, from Blackrock, Co Louth, and her boyfriend David Nolan, from Millstreet, Co Cork, were attending the Eagles of Death Metal concert in the Bataclan theatre when three gunmen opened fire and detonated suicide bombs, killing 89 people.

Mr Nolan heroically protected Ms Healy during the shooting. He was shot in the leg and is being treated in hospital, where he remains in a stable condition after undergoing surgery.

Speaking for the first time since the atrocity, Ms Healy said they are "beyond lucky" to have survived.

"We were standing at the door in the Bataclan where the gunmen entered.

"I felt a splash on my shoulder while I was watching the concert.

"I turned to David thinking it was someone spilling a drink. We then heard gunfire and sparks and flashing.

"We realised what was happening and the crowd fell to the side," she told RTÉ News.

When people attempted to run towards the exits, the gunmen began shooting indiscriminately at the crowd.

"We lay on the ground and just played dead."

Ms Healy said Mr Nolan threw himself on top of her twice, covering her head and chest as best as he could.

"It became quiet and you could hear people moaning and then single shots started to fire.

"We realised that the gunmen were walking around killing everyone who lay with us.

"The gunman walked past us, we said our goodbyes when we realised what was happening us. Then someone opened a door and we just ran.

"David wasn't able to run, he didn't tell me he'd been shot. I thought he was in shock or something. I dragged him for as long as I could.

"We managed to get out on to the street when the door was opened, the door led straight on to the street and we ran, eventually into a gated apartment.

"(A woman) started to tend to David's wounds and eventually we got to safety by getting a lift to a high floor.

"We're beyond lucky - people who were singing and dancing with us died.

"And we watched them die as we lay there and played dead.

"David took me to Paris and it's such a beautiful city and that's how we'll remember it.

"We had a great time at the concert before the attack and that's what we'll hold on to but we'll never forget the people who died."

Mr Nolan was the only Irish person injured in the attack.

Meanwhile, gardaí have stepped up security measures at air and sea ports in the wake of the Paris atrocities and are also ramping up the surveillance of targets on a garda suspect list.

Irish Independent

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