Monday 19 March 2018

'We can't let these people stop us from living our lives': Defiant Dunphy to return to France 'shortly'

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Many had hoped that the terror threat in France had subsided after Euro 2016 went off without a major incident, but last night's tragedy in Nice has brought fears rushing back.

At the moment, 84 people - men, women and children - have been confirmed dead after a terrorist attack in Nice during Bastille Day celebrations.

RTE football pundit Eamon Dunphy owns a holiday home in France and regularly visits the country. He spoke on Game On before Euro 2016 voicing concerns around the possibility of an attack at the tournament.

Read more: `I would be very surprised if they didn't target the European Championships' - Threat of terrorist attack keeping Eamon Dunphy away from Euro 2016

Although those fears proved unfounded, last night's attack has once again plunged France into fear and uncertainty.

Dunphy tells how he experienced the tragedy, as someone who plans on going to the country shortly.

"I was watching Sky News and my reaction was horror," he says.

"It is a terrible tragedy. Bastille Day is their national holiday.

"I don't think that this is something that will pass quickly. There were fears around Euro 2016 and when nothing happened everyone was very relieved. Yesterday French President Francois Hollande, in his Bastille Day address to the nation, announced that he was lifting the state of emergency in France. It's ironic that he should lift that on the day that another atrocity took place."

The outspoken football broadcaster regularly travels to France, as do many other Irish people. With so much uncertainty in the country, tourists from Ireland could be forgiven for travelling elsewhere.

Dunphy, however, is determined not to alter his plans because of this terrorist activity, and thinks that Irish people should continue to travel to France.

"It hasn't given me pause because I have a place there," he says.

"It wouldn't give me pause, I'm going shortly. It won't stop me going and I don't think we can let these people stop us living our lives.

"France is a beautiful country and I don't think Irish people should be deterred from going."

Asked if the horror in Nice makes him more fearful of visiting France, Dunphy points to the the French people as a reason why he isn't.

"No because I think you have to get on with your life," he says.

"The French people in Paris after November, very quickly resumed their daily lives. They weren't afraid to go to theaters or restaurants. It won't stop me going but it is a dreadful thing. It is not going to go away.

"I think it is the same country but people are very aware that terror can strike anywhere."

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