Saturday 20 January 2018

'I am not aware of any Irish citizens affected by Manchester blast' - Foreign Affairs Minister

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says he is 'heartbroken for all'

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan. Photo: PA
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan. Photo: PA
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said he is "not aware of any Irish citizens affected" by last night's explosion in Manchester.

The Minister said he was "shocked and horrified" this morning as news filtered through of 22 fatalities following a blast at a concert in the Manchester Arena.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed on Tuesday morning that a lone male attacker, who died in the blast, was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated.

The US popstar was playing at the packed arena which can hold up to 21,000 people.

A total of 60 ambulances attended the scene. Emergency services received 240 calls following the incident.

Many of the fans at the concert were young people.

An injured woman is helped out of the Manchester Arena after last night’s blast at a gig by Ariana Grande, which left 19 dead
Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Police stand by a cordoned off street close to the Manchester Arena. Photo: Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Two women wrapped in thermal blankets stand near the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Concert goers react after fleeing the Manchester Arena after the explosion.
Concert goers wait to be picked up at the scene of a suspected terrorist attack during a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester
A tweet from U.S. singer Ariana Grande is seen as she makes her first comment since a bombing at her concert in Manchester
Armed police man roadblocks outside the arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Photo: PA
A police officer escorts people near the Manchester Arena
Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People running down stairs as they attempt to exit the Manchester Arena after a blast
Police corden off an area close to the Box Office entrance to the Manchester Arena. Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Emergency services at the scene. Photo: PA
A police officer talks to locals outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Armed police officers stand outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
An armoured police Land Rover drives away from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
People sit by the side of the road next to a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Still image taken from video shows a street scene near Manchester Arena after the blast
Armed police block a road near to the Manchester Arena

The blast sparked panic as thousands of people rushed for the exits, witnesses told Reuters.

Minister Flanagan said his prayers are with those who have been affected by the atrocity.

"I am shocked and horrified by the large loss of life in Manchester last night and my thoughts and prayers are with those affected, and we stand by our nearest neighbour, the U.K. especially due to the strong links between our country and the city of Manchester," he said.

"The Consular Section of my Department, in conjunction with our Embassy in London is monitoring the situation and we are not at this time aware of any Irish citizens affected," he continued.

"Anyone with concerns for family and friends can contact the Consular Division of my Department on 353 1 408 2000."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny also paid tribute to the victims of the blast and said he is "heartbroken for all".

"The vile acts carried out in Manchester last night are a reminder of the depravity of the views held by the few," he said in a statement this morning.

"Those beliefs have no place in our society.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and all those affected by this atrocity. I am heartbroken for all.

"The city of Manchester has exceptionally close ties with our country and I extend the solidarity of the Irish Government and all our people to those affected across the UK."

Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty also said she is appalled by the news.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, she said: "My own daughter was at the Ariana Grande concert in Dublin on Saturday night and never for a second did I have any kind of concern that something like this could happen.

"It's shocking, I know the Taoiseach has done it already this morning but I want to express how horrified we are at such a brutal act, particularly at a concert."

Speaking outside Governmenf buildings today, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar also offered his sympathies to the families in Manchester, condemning the attack.

He said: "First of all I want to add my name to the condemnation of the attack.

"Everybody knows well there's a very large Irish community there and I also extend my sympathies to the victims and the families involved."

Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald also condemned the attack, describing it as "unspeakably savage and evil"

Leaders from around the world have condemned the terror attack and offered their condolences to the victims.

* Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull told the country's parliament the incident was a "brutal attack on young people everywhere".

He said: "This incident, this attack, is especially vile, especially criminal, especially horrific because it appears to have been deliberately directed at teenagers.

"This is an attack on innocents. Surely there is no crime more reprehensible than the murder of children.

"This is a direct and brutal attack on young people everywhere, on freedom everywhere."

* Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Pained by the attack in Manchester. We strongly condemn it. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured."

* In Japan a government spokesman said: "If this is a terrorist attack, such abhorrent acts of terrorism cannot be justified for any reason, and Japan firmly condemns such an act of terrorism.

"I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the victims and families of the deceased and my prayers to a swift recovery for the wounded. Japan stands in solidarity with the people of the UK."

* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: "Canadians are shocked by the news of the horrific attack in Manchester tonight. Please keep the victims & their families in your thoughts."

* President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, tweeted: "My heart is in Manchester this night. Our thoughts are with the victims."

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