'I couldn't believe what had happened': Limerick student on Manchester attack

Terror: Flags fly at half-mast in Limerick after bombing in UK

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

'I couldn't believe what had happened': Limerick student on Manchester attack

Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon signs the book of condolence - below, Marisa Kennedy, centre, in UL

A LIMERICK student studying in Manchester has spoken of how she first realised the deadly terror attack on the English city was underway.

Marisa Kennedy, a third year University of Limerick journalism student who has spent six months studying at the University of Salford was left in “complete shock” at the explosion at the end of an Ariana Grande gig in the Manchester Arena - which was carried out by 22 year old Salman Abedi, while responsibility has been claimed by Isis.

The attack has claimed the lives of 22 people – 12 of them children – and left scores more injured. A book of condolence opened at City Hall Limerick yesterday, while flags flew at half mast over the local authority offices. It is also available online.

Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon said he was “shocked and saddened” by the tragic events.

Speaking to the Leader from Manchester, Marisa – who will end her placement and return to Ireland this Wednesday – said she had turned off her phone early in the night to try and get some sleep.

“Then I heard a huge amount of sirens. This wouldn’t be strange, I’m right beside the police station. But they would normally stop early in the night. But they continued – and the volume was incredible. Then there were helicopters. I got the sense there was something wrong. I knew I wasn’t going to sleep, and then I saw all these messages coming on my telephone asking if I was okay. A terrorist attack was the last thing I imagined,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe it when I turned on the news and saw what had happened just down the road.”

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. To target young people is particularly unbelievable.”

The mayor confirmed he would write to his counterpart in Manchester Andy Burnham on behalf of the city “to express our horror at the attack and our support for the people there.”