Nice massacre: Irish bear witness to carnage on promenade

A number of Irish people were witness to the carnage in Nice. One of them, barman Robert Greene from Coolock in Dublin, was just a few metres away as he watched the truck driver plough through the crowds on the Promenade des Anglais.

He had just got off a bus with a group of friends as the Bastille Day celebrations drew to a close.

“I saw this truck and he cut through three or four people. He was already missing the bumper. It was horrific,” said Mr Greene.

Some of his friends ran down a flight of steps to the beach below the promenade as the driver weaved along the road with the lights of the truck off, running over people indiscriminately.

Still in deep shock, he described the carnage the truck left in its wake.

“A woman dropped to her knees, someone in her family had been killed, just lying there. There was not even a thing anyone could do, there was no CPR, bits of him were lying around,” he said.

“It was horrific.”

He added: “There was a young child’s plastic tricycle, smashed up and left in bits.

“I stayed on top of the stairs looking around. It was surreal. People screaming, children crying, young children running around the place alone, a woman on roller blades screaming for her child. She found him.”

Nice massacre: Irish bear witness to carnage on promenade

Mr Greene arrived in Nice in the middle of May to work in Ma Nolan’s Irish bar and to enjoy Euro 2016. He was returning to the city with friends after a party at a hotel on the outskirts of Nice and said he thought the attack began close to where his group had got off the bus.

“There was no noise. He came in between us and the beach. I remember turning around and then hearing noise but there wasn’t a huge amount of noise. We must have been close to the start,” he said.

“Some people pushed their youngsters out of the way, we ran to the beach.”

Two of their group went missing in the immediate confusion, one of whom was on crutches, but they were reunited a short while later.

Another Dubliner, Stephen Milton, who is on holidays in Nice, said most locals and tourists thought a traffic accident had taken place at first.

Minutes before, he and his Australian boyfriend had walked past the Hard Rock/Meridien hotel where the terrorist claimed most of his victims.

“We turned the corner, I heard gun shots. I’d never heard gun shots before,” he said. He and his partner then ran to a hotel where they sheltered in a store room.

“We tried to console some young girls who were beside us and were very upset. There were teens trying to get in touch with their parents.”

Dermot Mulhall, from Kilkenny, who has been living in Nice for three years, told Newstalk Breakfast that he lives close to the promenade.

Nice massacre: Irish bear witness to carnage on promenade

“I hadn’t gone to the fireworks. Thankfully I didn’t, I would have most likely walked down to the beach. I’ve a young dog who is afraid of bangs.”

Former Galway minor hurler Philip Ezergailis, a student working in a Nice pub for the summer, also had a lucky escape. “Nice promenade is like Salthill prom. We just happened to be on one side of it when the lorry went down the other side”.

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