The French Honorary Consul has thanked the people of Northern Ireland for their support in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.
Whitehead resident Régine McCullough told the Carrick Times that since the shootings in Paris last weekend, she has received several messages of support from local people.
“It’s amazing the letters of support that I have received from people who are shocked and who want to show solidarity with the French people,” she said.
“Messages started coming through from early on Saturday morning and I will be passing them on to the French Consulate in London. There are also books of condolence throughout Northern Ireland.”
At the time of going to print, at least 132 people had died and hundreds were still in intensive care after seven coordinated attacks in restaurants, bars and at a concert venue across the French capital.
Régine revealed that her niece had been due to go out for the evening in the area which was targeted by the terrorists, but had changed her mind.
“My niece said that she could have been there as she was going to go out in that area,” she stated.
“It has been very difficult in Paris, I have friends living and working there and everybody is very sad at what has happened.”
Régine, who is originally from Normandy, acts as a point of contact and information to assist French nationals in Northern Ireland and to respond to media queries.
“There are quite a few French nationals in Northern Ireland, about 900 in all,” she continued.
“There is horror, sadness and anger in France. People are angry at what happened at Charlie Hebdo in January and this is on a bigger scale.
“A lot of people who have had friends injured are very grief-stricken, they can’t understand why this should happen.
“People have been left bereaved and injured in hospital and the death toll is not final.
“A lot of people will have very serious injuries for the rest of their lives.
“The ramifications are incredible; all those people have family throughout France.”
Despite the impact on the French capital, Régine says it is important to “stand up to the terrorists or they will have won”.
“The people of France want to get back to normal,” she said.
“The message coming out of Paris is: ‘we’re not afraid’.”