The attack that took place in Manchester last week was one of the most horrific attacks the UK has seen since the London Bombings. The blast caused 22 fatalities, a mixture of men, women and children and more than 50 injuries. The Islamic state have claimed to have caused this horrific attack on humanity.
It all started when international pop star Ariana Grande brought her ‘Dangerous Woman’ world tour to the Manchester Arena. Her followership consists of young children and many teens. She created this followership from her found fame as a Nickelodeon actress. The concert was destined to have a large turnout due to her international fame. Many news agencies reported that because some of her followers were so young, it was their very first concert.
The singer was reported to have stated that the main reason for creating the tour was to create a safe environment where fans could meet one another and enjoy the music, but this didn’t go to plan. At 10.33pm on the evening of the concert, 3 minutes after the concert finished and Ariana left the stage, a nail bomb exploded in the foyer of the Manchester Arena, causing absolute terror and chaos.
Soon, Twitter became active with pictures, videos and reports from the scene and what people thought was just a balloon or speaker explosion turned into something more sinister. In minutes, armed police and paramedics swarmed the arena, unsure of what they were about to witness. According to a number of news agencies, 240 calls were made to emergency services to report the serious incident.
During this time, thousands of people poured from the arena confused and shocked by what they had witnessed. Many children and teens were unattended or lost their parents during the panic. The singer’s mom, who was reported to have been sitting front row, reportedly took a number of children backstage for safety.
A woman collected 50 children and brought them to the local Holiday Inn, so their parents could find them. Taxi men provided free Taxi services all night and many locals provided accommodation as Manchester was put into lockdown, with all trains from the nearby Victoria Station cancelled. A number of homeless men also attended to the injured.
The next morning, things started to become clearer about this sinister act and the aftermath. It was revealed that Manchester was a victim of a suicide bomber. Witnesses started to report the lack of security at the event, including one lady who reported seeing a woman acting suspiciously. Questions started to arise. How could such a horrific incident happen in a country that is monitored highly by counter terrorism police?
In the days to follow, Manchester came together in support of the victims of this atrocity. A large memorial was set up in Albert Square with many paying tributes to victims through song and poetry. It was clear that the Islamic State had failed in creating isolation and fear in Manchester – instead, the opposite happened.
This incident was also felt very close to home, with President Higgins and many TDs paying tribute to the victims. The attack had such an impact on the Irish Government, that outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny called a meeting of Irish Security Agencies to discuss Ireland security protocols if an attack like this were to take place in Ireland. Speaking to RTÉ, the outgoing Taoiseach said “I have to say that I was very impressed with the immediate response of the first responders in Manchester to the tragedy,” and acknowledged that there may be an issue around whether Ireland should have a separate security and intelligence unit.
Labour TD Brenda Howlin said we “would be foolish to think that we are immune from that in this jurisdiction.”
Ireland is known to have links to terror organisations in Syria with up to 30 Irish nationals known to have travelled to the warn torn country. Terror links have also been traced back to Waterford City were a man was arrested and charged for financing terrorist activities and attempting to provide funds for such an organisation.
Ireland is foolish to think that we are irrelevant from these atrocities. The question may be when and if we will be prepared for such an attack like the one seen in Manchester.
Photo: James O’Hanlon via Flickr