herald

Friday 9 December 2016

'French here feel lucky to be among supportive Irish'

NO REPRO FEE. 15/11/2015. A man holds his son during a minute silence on Grafton Street for the victims of the Paris attack. Thousends of people turned out for the turning of the Christmas lights on Grafton Dublin a partnership between DublinTown, Dublin City Council. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.
NO REPRO FEE. 15/11/2015. A man holds his son during a minute silence on Grafton Street for the victims of the Paris attack. Thousends of people turned out for the turning of the Christmas lights on Grafton Dublin a partnership between DublinTown, Dublin City Council. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

The strong support from the Irish public to French people living here sends a message to terrorists that we are united, the French Ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thebault has said.

Mr Thebault said that he wanted to thank the Irish public and Government for their “strong support for France and its citizens”.

“This matters. It is a message sent to the terrorists. You will not win. You will be defeated because we stand in unison,” he said.  “The French in Ireland are telling me ‘We are lucky to be in Ireland.’

“We are lucky because we are in the community, because the community is taking care of us and because we feel at home while being with the Irish.”

In an interview with TV3’s Sunday: AM show, Mr Thebault – echoing the words of French President Francois Hollande – promised to fight back.

“We have a firm resolve, a firm resolve to fight them back,” he said. “Because what those terrorists are representing is not only a threat to our values, to our daily lives, and not only the ones of France, also the ones of all of us, but also they want to expand, they want to increase their power.”

President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina Higgins, will today sign the book of condolence at the French Embassy at Merrion Square and participate in a minute’s silence in front of the embassy.

“The attacks in Paris represent an attack not only on the people of France but also on the values that are the very essence of freedom of thought and expression,” said the president.

A minute’s silence was also held before the annual Christmas lighting ceremony on Grafton Street yesterday afternoon. Hundreds of people signed a book of condolence at the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin.

The Taoiseach has ordered that Government Buildings will fly the flag at half mast in support of Paris.

Meanwhile Giovanni Adorni-Braccesi, the Italian ambassador to Ireland told the Herald that an Italian lady was among the victims.

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