herald

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Troubles priest hails French resilience

Fr Aidan Troy
Fr Aidan Troy

An Irish priest based in Paris has compared the "resilience" of the French to those who lived through the Troubles in the North.

Fr Aidan Troy, who famously led a group of Catholic schoolgirls through violent Loyalist protests in Belfast in 2001, said attacks like that on Thursday in the French Capital had become a familiar occurrence.

"I left Belfast over eight years ago having lived among brave and resilient people of different outlooks and aspirations whom I admire and will never forget," he said.

"Here in Paris, the people will not give up living and working in as normal a way as possible."

Cried

Fr Troy, of St Joseph's Catholic Church, said there was a sense of uncertainty and fear in the air.

"In the streets people stood in small groups trying to piece together yet another attack," he said.

"Tired children cried - all they wanted was to get to bed.

"Armed police and soldiers were to be seen in the nearby metro station and at every street corner.

"This has become a familiar sight."

Fr Troy added that it was business as usual in Paris yesterday.

"I saw a city rally and begin a new day with courage and resolve," he said.

"Restaurants opened, shops began to sell. I cycled to a school for an Easter celebration at a nearby church.

"Over 300 children, of all religions and none, took part. They were supported by parents and teachers. Police ensured our safety."

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