Mayor of Limerick 'shocked and saddened' by events in Manchester

Attacks after Ariana Grande gig leave at least 22 dead in UK city

Nick Rabbitts

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Mayor of Limerick 'shocked and saddened' by events in Manchester

Mayor Kieran O'Hanlon: 'Our thoughts are with the families of the victims'

MAYOR of Limerick Kieran O’Hanlon is “shocked and saddened” by the tragic events in Manchester, which have left at least 22 people dead and over 50 injured.

The flags at Limerick City and County Council’s buildings in Merchant’s Quay and Dooradoyle will fly at half-mast this Tuesday following the explosion at the MEN Arena, which is believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.

The attack came at the end of a gig by US singer Ariana Grande, which was attended by an overwhelmingly young audience, and this has led to fears that children are among the casualties.

Mayor O’Hanlon said: “I'm totally shocked and saddened that any individual would have the mentality to do this to such innocent people. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, and all those who were injured, and the people of Manchester. To target young people is particularly unbelievable.”

The authority is also to open a book of condolence at its offices in Merchant's Quay in the city.

A council delegation recently visited the city in England’s north-west as part of a cross-party working group on the arts.

Independent councillor John Loftus was part of the delegation who travelled to Manchester, where they met the city’s arts community.

He said: “It’s a terrible terrible tragedy. We were only talking last week about what a community Manchester has become, what a wonderful city it is now. We were welcomed wholeheartedly to the city. It's shocking, and just so hard to believe.”

Sheila Deegan, council arts officer said: “They have this day called Manchester Day, which is a celebration of all things Mancunian. It is a city which has received an ijnflux of new citizens over the years. Even though there is lots of diversity and other festivals, everyone came together to celebrate what it means to be from Manchester. They have such a positive sense of identity, and that's why the grief of this is so hard to take.”

Nationally, President Michael D Higgins has offered his sympathy to the families of those who have lost their lives in the sickening attack.

"This cowardly attack on innocent citizens will have appalled all those who care for democracy, freedom and the right to live and enjoy the public space. Manchester has been home to the Irish and so many nationalities for centuries and at this terrible time I want to send the people of this great and welcoming city not only our sympathy but our solidarity,” he said.

President Higgins will formally write to the newly elected Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and British Queen Elizabeth to convey the sympathy of the Irish people.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the attack was "on innocence and on happiness".

"When you consider last night at least, we know, 22 people went out to enjoy themselves who will never come home," Mr Kenny told RTE Radio this Tuesday morning.

"In this country where we’re so used to concerts, any parent who has ever brought their young son or daughter to a concert will know that this would have been a dream night out, the weeks and the days counting down to the big event.

"This was an attack on innocence and on happiness and therefore on behalf of the people of our country, I say to all those who were unfortunately and tragically killed, injured and their families, that we as a nation hold them very closely in our hearts."

Minister for Social Protection and Fine Gael leadership candidate Leo Varadkar has condemned the attack "in the strongest possible terms, and extend my deepest sympathies to the families of all involved.

"This shocking incident turned a concert which should have been a happy and joyous occasion, into one of horror, mourning and loss.

"Manchester is a city with a large Irish community, and our consular and diplomatic service is available to provide assistance. The Government has also extended its condolences and offered solidarity and support to the UK authorities."