A Letterkenny woman has spoken of her horror as her workplace went into lockdown as an attack on two crowded mosques in Christchurch during afternoon prayers left 49 people dead.
Mary Dunne from in Illistrin in Letterkenny works as a teacher near where the attack happened.
The Masjid al Noor in central Christchurch was filled with worshippers when the attack happened, as was the second mosque in suburban Linwood.
Forty-one people were killed at the Al Noor mosque, seven at a mosque in the Linwood neighbourhood and one died in hospital, police said.
Speaking following the ordeal, Ms. Dunne said: “Myself and all the specialists, psychologists and the teachers all had to stay in the school for about two hours after the attack.
“We had to lock up the gates of the property, we locked all the doors, we had to pull all the blinds and we were in basic darkness and we just had to sit there and wait it out.”
Police said three people were in custody including one man in his late 20s who had been charged with murder.
The Irish embassy in New Zealand says it’s monitoring the situation and says any Irish people in Christchurch can contact them.
The Irish Ambassador for New Zealand Peter Ryan said the resilience of the Irish nurses and doctors working in the aftermath of the atrocity in Christchurch is “inspiring”.
In a statement, the President offered the sympathy of the Irish people to the families of the victims and expressed the solidarity of the people of Ireland with the people of New Zealand.
President Higgins said: “This attack on innocent lives at places of worship for a religious community will be condemned by all those who believe in freedom and democratic values.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has described the attack as “horrific, harrowing news” and encouraged “tolerance and openness” over “hate”.
He said: “Irish people share a deep affinity with the people of New Zealand, whether it’s through rugby, travel or pride in our culture as small island nations.
“New Zealand and its people are open, tolerant and welcoming. We join them today, united in our condemnation of this appalling attack and determined in our resolve that hate will not triumph.
“I will be writing to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to express sincere sympathies and support. I would also like to pay tribute to the valiant work of Christchurch’s emergency services.”Tags: