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Scarred Manchester still in our thoughts

Editor's Viewpoint

One week after the suicide bombing in Manchester that killed 21 innocent people, including children and young people, and injured many more, the horror is still sinking in.

In today's newspaper we report on the enormous relief of the parents of the student Niamh Woods, who was working in the Manchester Arena that night and only just escaped being killed by the blast

She was counting the takings from the concert, which had just ended, and a long queue for the bathroom kept her inside the small room she was in, almost certainly saving her life.

Her father Sean Woods describes the relief when he and his wife Bernie realised that their daughter was safe.

It was only after hours of frantically trying to get in touch with Niamh that he reached his daughter on her flatmate's phone.

The tension and fear of those minutes were bad enough, but the full horror of what might have been only hit Niamh's parents when they were driving her home from the airport to Londonderry.

Mr Woods says that his daughter was "in bits" in the car, but he and his wife were so overcome too that they both broke into "massive tears" on the journey.

The horrors witnessed by Niamh are still wakening her at night.

But the brave Manchester University student is determined to return to the city she loves to finish her degree.

As well as expressing the worry and upset at what happened, Mr Woods also expresses deep and justified anger at the actions of the bomber in callously attacking innocent and defenceless young people in such a cold and calculated way.

The story of Niamh Woods and her parents is only one of many which have arisen from the atrocity that took place in Manchester last Monday evening.

The family and friends of the people who died are still experiencing a grief that is unfathomable to the rest of us, and many of the other victims are dealing with painful and life-threatening injuries.

We in Northern Ireland know only too well the results that arise from an act of such callous savagery, and how so many innocent people have to live with the painful and heartbreaking consequences for the rest of their lives.

Our thoughts and prayers are still very much with Manchester and its people in their time of such continued grief.

Belfast Telegraph

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