Friday 21 October 2016

Paris-based rugby star Ronan O'Gara says 'local people fear this is just the start' of terror attacks

Ronan O'Gara
Ronan O'Gara

PARIS-based rugby legend Ronan O'Gara has described fear in the city in the wake of last week terror attacks, saying: "Locals feel like it's only the start."

The Racing Metro assistant coach was in the French capital on Friday night when the atrocities were being carried out by Islamic State terrorists.

He took to social media the next day to assure fans that his wife Jessica and their young family were safe while his team's clash with Glasgow Warriors was postponed.

Last night he spoke of how the attacks have affected the city and the players and staff at Racing.

"It's very real, it's very surreal at the same time. I've never experienced anything like it," he told 2fm's Game On show.

"I think the terrorists are going after sporting venues, nice theatres and cafes, and when it gets to that stage it's not good.

"It's a great country and there are some great people here and the locals are confident of winning, but you'll just have to wait and see what it's like in a month's time.

"The annoying thing is that the locals feel like it's only the start of things. It's kind of head down time.

"It's occupying everyone's mind. There is no reasoning so people are lost for words."

Meanwhile, an unnamed Irish secondary school whose students were due to travel to Paris this weekend is set to cancel the trip.

Travel company boss Grainne Quinn said she has received several calls from schools and parents after the Department of Foreign Affairs updated its travel advice for France and urged "extreme caution".

Ms Quinn, the managing director of the School Tour Company, said one school has arrangements to go to Paris this weekend but is likely to cancel.

"We're very lucky because we've only had one group travelling before Christmas and at this stage they hadn't decided whether to cancel or postpone it," she said.

"My gut feeling is that they will postpone because I think that right now it's not a good idea to go and it's a big responsibility to look after children abroad.

"We've had a number of groups whose mothers and fathers are concerned about whether they should go on the trips or not, but mostly I'm finding that they're playing a waiting game.

"The thing that we are concerned with is the welfare and the safety of the children."

She said another school has already decided to go to Barcelona instead of Paris next year.

The Department of Foreign Affairs website points out that the French Ministry of Education has cancelled all school trips within France by French schools until Sunday.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs recommends that Irish schools planning to take groups to France between now and November 22 follow the French Ministry of Education's advice not to travel," it adds.

"We will continue to monitor the recommendations of the French authorities and our travel advice will be updated as required."

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