Tuesday 25 October 2016

Bodies of attack victims return home today


The families of the three Irish citizens killed in the Tunisian terror attack are awaiting details of when they can bring their bodies home.

Mum-of-two Lorna Carty from Robinstown, Co Meath, and Athlone couple Larry and Martina Hayes, were callously shot dead by an Islamic State gunman in Friday's carnage.

It is expected that the bodies will be repatriated within the next 24 hours.

Ireland's ambassador to Tunisia, David Cooney, has confirmed "considerable progress" in the repatriation of the remains has been made since yesterday.

He added that he is "very hopeful" that once paperwork is finalised, travel arrangements can go ahead.

The Department of Foreign Affairs also confirmed the formal identification process has now been completed by the Tunisian authorities.

"Ambassador David Cooney and Consul Ms. Caoimhe Ni Chonchuir continue to support the Carty and Hayes families at this difficult time," a representative said.


"They have assisted the families to finalise the repatriation arrangements of their loved ones to Ireland."

Mr Cooney is based in Madrid, but travelled to Tunisia on Friday to assist with the arrangements.

"There is a lot of paperwork you have to go through," he said.

He said his office has been working closely with travel insurers, who are responsible for repatriation.

Meanwhile, a minute's silence was observed in the Dail yesterday.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he had spoken with British Prime Minister David Cameron about a united approach in confronting Islamist extremism.

"We will be working together to do all we can to protect the freedom and security we hold dear," he said. "Through the EU, we will work with Tunisia to make sure that it remains a popular, secure, and peaceful holiday destination.

"This attack was an act of hatred. It was a rejection of the values of respect, equality and freedom."

Hundreds turned out to sign a book of condolence opened yesterday in Athlone, Co Westmeath, for Laurence and Martina Hayes. They are survived by their only daughter, Sinead, and extended family.

Speaking to the Herald, Mr Hayes's brother, Michael, said the family has not yet decided where the funeral will take place.

"Everything is still up in the air, and matters like that won't be decided until the bodies are back home," he said. "We're taking it one step at a time."

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