Friday 23 March 2018

Three years on: Irish invitees remember Norwegian mass murder that left 77 dead

Jason Kennedy

Jason Kennedy

Today marks three years since the Norway attacks in Oslo and Utoya Island that left 77 people dead.

A car bomb in Oslo killed eight people and injured around 209 more, while Anders Behring Breivik's shooting spree on Utoya Island killed 69 people and injured a further 110.

The island was hosting a summer school for the AUF, the youth division of the ruling Norwegian Labour Party, with a large number of international delegates attending.

Four invitations were extended to members of the Irish Labour Youth, but none were able to attend. Still, three years on, party members remember what they could have become embroiled in.

"That's always left a big question of who could have gone and who would have gone and what would have happened," said Labour Youth's International Officer Neil Warner.

"Utoya for years has been a really powerful part of the Labour movement, so it would have been something that a lot of people would have loved to have gone to."

Party member Joanna Siewierska was in shock when she watched events unfold on television, knowing that she could have been there.

"It was so surreal. It's terrifying to think when international trips come up everyone wants to go and experience something know. You don't think that something so terrifying could happen to you, but yet it could," she said.

To mark third anniversary, Labour party members presented a wreath and candles to Norwegian Ambassador and held a vigil outside the Embassy.

"The Ambassador and the staff seem quite touched by it," said Policy Officer Jack Eustace.

"I think it's quite important we keep it going."

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