| 2.8°C Belfast

Gerry Anderson: the Algarve's atmosphere of terror

Radio Ulster presenter Gerry Anderson last night told of the palpable sense of fear among parents holidaying in Portugal after the Madeleine McCann abduction.

The Belfast Telegraph columnist, who has just returned from the resort of Carvoeira in the Algarve, told how holidaymakers were clutching their children's hands and keeping them in their sights at all times.

He also said that the whirr of the helicopters overhead reminded him of being in Derry at the height of the Troubles.

Speaking on Radio Ulster, Gerry said: "I've just been to Portugal. The strangest thing was we were on the Algarve, and we were staying at a place called Carvoeiro, which is just a few miles from where that poor wee girl was kidnapped.

"It was unbelievable, the police helicopters were everywhere. It reminded me of Derry about 10 years ago.

"But the strangest thing about it, and it took me a while to realise it, you know the way you don't think about these things, people are terrified with their children, terrified.

"I mean, you get a little square or something like that; you know where people sit and have a cup of coffee, and the kids usually run around? But the parents are all standing watching them and really really keeping an eye on them."

He said people everywhere were keeping a close watch.

"I saw a thing I haven't seen in a while and when you see it again you realise that you haven't seen it in a while - everyone was walking around holding their children by the hand.

"You used to see that all the time but it's the sort of thing that has died out now. The children tend to walk behind their parents now rather than hold their hand, but now people are hanging to their children."

Belfast Telegraph