Updated: 20/12/16 : 06:34:41
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Irish in Berlin shocked at terror attack

Irish people in Berlin were reeling following the horrific crash which saw a lorry plough into the Christmas market outside the landmark Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church.  

Nathan Young (23) from Derry is currently on holiday in Berlin with his girlfriend Claire.

The Irish Independent reports that the couple had visited the market earlier in the day and were enjoying a drink in the Irish Pub in the Europa-Center when the truck collided with the market.

"I think people are in shock," he said. "We were in the bar and didn't hear any loud noises or anything.

"When we went outside the street was cordoned off with fire brigades, police and ambulance everywhere.

Eileen Thornhill from Cork has been living in Berlin for 26 years. She works in The Irish Times Pub and became aware of the attack when friends and family suddenly started calling the bar.

"We all started getting phone calls asking if we were all right and then we turned on the news and saw what was happening," she told the Irish Independent.

"We are all shocked and in a state of disbelief. I don't know what to say. But German people are very resilient and good at coping".

The collision is being treated as a suspected terror attack and Ms Thornhill drew comparisons with the Nice massacre that occurred on Bastille Day, claiming the lives of 86.

"The market is always filled with tourists and the fact that it happened near Christmas and a holiday makes it more tragic. I suppose that's why they choose holidays to make the biggest impact possible."

She said she became slightly concerned over her security last week when police in the southwestern city of Ludwighshafen confirmed they were holding a 12 year-old boy in custody suspected of trying to detonate explosive devices at a city Christmas market. It is not known if the two incidents are connected.

Richard Clarkson (20) from Brighton (UK) was in an Irish bar with his friends on the street near were the incident happened.

He said: "I just walked out and I saw the truck, the windscreen was broken, I didn't see any bodies they were very quick to cover them up I think."

"The word terrorist is being thrown around a lot at the moment and people seem scared."

Last night Minister of Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan extended his condolences to the families of those who had lost their lives.

"I am horrified by the loss of life in Berlin this evening," he said. "Our thoughts are also with those injured in this appalling incident. Ireland stands in solidarity with Germany.

See also Sligo Today 20/12/2016