Dozens of people braved the wet weather on Tuesday evening (November 17) to attend a candlelit vigil in Rathcoole in a show of solidarity with the people of Paris.
The event, organised by local women Rose West and Lorraine Shearer, was held in the wake of last week’s horrific terrorist attacks in the French capital which left 129 dead and hundreds more injured.
“It was terrible what happened and we just wanted to do something to give people the opportunity to get together to show their support for the people of Paris,” Rose told the Times.
The vigil was addressed by representatives from several local churches, Mayor Thomas Hogg and community worker Phil Hamilton.
“Just as the majority of decent people in this country were not broken by terrorism and were not broken by violence, we stand with the people of France and the people across the world who hold dear to democracy and to freedom and to our western liberal values to say that we will never be defeated by terrorism,” Cllr Hogg told the crowd.
Prayers were said for those injured or bereaved as a result of Friday’s attacks, and a minute’s silence was observed in memory of those who lost their lives.
Meanwhile, around 100 people gathered in The Square, Ballyclare on Monday evening (November 16) for the Prayers for Paris event, which was led by Rev Robert Bell from Ballyclare Presbyterian Church and representatives of several other local churches.
“We are glad that so many people gathered here in Ballyclare. There is not a lot we can do to help the people in Paris, but we can express our sympathy and our concern. We are able to stand together and show our abhorrence of violence and our desire that people would live together in God’s world in peace and harmony,” Rev Bell said.
Event organiser, Councillor David Arthurs was pleased with how the event had been received by the local community.
“The event has been attended really well and I am pleased that the people of Ballyclare came out to show their support for the people who have been affected in Paris. There is clear anger and disgust at what has happened in Paris, and tonight shows that as a community we are behind Paris,” Cllr Arthurs explained.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has opened books of condolence for the victims of the atrocities in Paris at its offices at Mossley Mill and Antrim Civic Centre. The books can be signed between 9am and 5pm, Monday - Friday.