Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News World

Defiant expatriates vow to stay in Nice after lorry attack

Published 17/07/2016

Expatriates in Nice, where at least 84 people died in the lorry massacre, said they did not intend to leave
Expatriates in Nice, where at least 84 people died in the lorry massacre, said they did not intend to leave

Expatriates in Nice remained defiant in the face of terror in France, praising the area and saying they had no intention of leaving.

The city is popular with British holidaymakers, but is also home to people from the UK and Ireland.

Thursday's attack was the third to hit France in 18 months, and took place after security measures across the country had been increased.

But a number of expats living in the seaside resort said the latest atrocity, following those in November and January last year, have not made them think twice about living there.

Barry Gallagher, who moved to Nice eight years ago, said many terrified revellers took refuge in his pub on Rue Saint-Francois de Paule, one street back from the promenade.

He had gone home after watching the fireworks but said the bar opened its doors to anyone who needed help.

He said: "The lads at the pub were letting people in for safety, half of them were young children with their families."

The 40-year-old, who is originally from Dublin, said while it was a shocking tragedy he will not let it put him off living there.

Speaking in Ma Nolan's he said: "It can happen anywhere, there is no point in living life like that. You would never go out again if that was the attitude.

"We have been used to having the Army on the streets for a long time now."

He said he is hopeful the attack does not cause racial tensions, after Islamic State claimed lorry driver Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was "a soldier" acting for them.

"I hope it doesn't lead to any rise in the far-right, he said.

"We have a great mixture of people who come to have a drink here - locals, tourists, all races and we have never had a problem with anyone."

Barman Michael Robinson, who works at The Snug and Cellar on Rue Droite, said the city and people are hurt by what happened, but are very resilient.

The 35-year-old, from Newcastle, said: "It's a beautiful city in a beautiful country, with very friendly people. It's just a shame that it's been targeted.

"I haven't once thought of leaving, even after what happened in Paris, I haven't felt I wanted to get out of France at all."

Mr Robinson, who has lived in Nice for five years, said he has attended the fireworks for previous Bastille Day celebrations and defended security measures, saying the attack would have been difficult to stop.

He said: "It would be almost impossible to close off all the surrounding streets I think."

He added: "I think it's important people know how great a city this is and continue to visit or come to live. What happened is awful but you can't let these things get to you too much."

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph