Blackrock native Katie Healy Nolan, who with her then boyfriend now husband David, survived the terror attack on the Bataclan in Paris, has said that there's never a day that goes by without the couple thinking about it.
Speaking on RTE's ‘Morning Ireland’ this week, she described how the events of November 13, 2015, are “something that will absolutely never leave our minds.”
"It comes up a hundred times a day, even when you are thinking you are not thinking about it.”
Katie and David were attending a concert by American Band Eagles of Death Metal in the Bataclan when it was stormed by three jihadist terrorists who killed 90 people and wounded many others.
David was shot in the foot after he threw himself on top of Katie to protect her. The couple played dead before managing to escape from the concert hall.
Her husband continues to suffer from the injuries he received that night.
"David is doing really well considering everything,” she said. “He lives in a huge amount of pain, from his foot and also from his back.”
"He was a really brilliant sportsman and is now a spectator. That’s the reality of his life.” She paid tribute to David, saying he was ‘a very remarkable man” who was incredibly cheerful.
‘He's an amazing husband and father.”
Katie said that the events of the night “really changed our entire life.”
The couple now have “three beautiful children and another on the way”. They have learned to life live to the full,” looking forward as as we can but never forgetting those who died.”
That horrific night had become “such a huge part of our lives that we always think about it and it’s something our children will grow up knowing about.”
The couple travelled to Paris last October to give evidence at the trial of Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the Islamic State cell that carried out the attack and 19 others accused of being involved in plotting or supporting the attack. Abdeslam has been sentenced to live in prison, with no possibility of parole.
Katie recounted that giving evidence at the trial, which was held in a purpose-built courtroom in the Palais de Justice, gave them "the chance to look the accused in the eye and take back a bit of power from that night”.
She said that the trial had also put into perspective that they were still alive and very fortunate to be in that position, despite what had happened an how hugely it had impacted their lives.
It had also given them the chance to give their testimony and "to honour the memory of those lost on that absolutely horrific night”.
"It was very important that we use our voices,” she said. “We are in a powerful position as we are able to speak and we must speak up anytime we are asked.”
"It was very important for us to stand in the courtroom together and say our piece."
Katie and David live in Cork and she has become an advocate for parents of children with special needs following the birth of their daughter Penelope, who has a rare and life limiting condition, pontocerebellar hypoplasia syndrome (PCH). She appeared on the Late, Late Show last year, calling for better supports for parents caring for children with disabilities.