Minister Coveney speaking recently at the Irish Consulate in New York. Photo by Lemuel Ayutud.
By Irish Echo Staff
Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs has condemned the mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night that has left at least fifty eight people dead and hundreds wounded.
And Minister Simon Coveney said that at this juncture there were no indications that any Irish citizens had suffered harm in the attack but that the situation was being constantly monitored.
The bloodshed occurred when a lone gunman, later shot dead by law enforcement officers, opened fire with an automatic weapon from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
His target was the packed crowd of people at an open air country music concert.
“I strongly condemn the attack at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas. This was a savage and brutal attack targeting innocent festival-goers,” said Mr. Coveney.
“I wish to express my heartfelt condolences and those of the Irish people to the families of the victims, those who were injured, and to the people and the authorities of the United States on this tragic day.
“As of now, we have no indications to suggest that any Irish citizens have been affected.
“I am conscious, however, that it will take time before all of the casualties are identified.
"My department, through our Consulate General in San Francisco, and the Honorary Consulate in Las Vegas, is continuing to monitor the situation.”
Later today Irish media outlets began carrying accounts from Irish people in Las Vegas and who were close to the scene of the shooting.
Dublin woman Christine O’Hanlon, was at the Aria hotel, told Newstalk radio in Dublin: “All of a sudden there was a bit of a commotion and people started to run. At first, we weren’t really sure what was happening but I could hear popping sounds and obviously that was gunfire, but we didn’t realize it at the time.
“Then people were running, it was like a stampede. We weren’t sure what was going on.”
O’Hanlon told Newstalk that all the people working in the casino she was in bent down behind the tables.
“Because there was such confusion, no one knew what was happening. The reception area cleared out - people lay down on the floor. There was no alarm,” she said.
“One of the staff said it was unusual, normally an alarm would sound; that’s why they were confused as well. Because it happened so quickly.
“We ran out to the front of the hotel, people were talking, said there was shooting at the Mandalay Bay hotel, which wasn’t too far from us because we could hear the gunfire.
“We thought then we have to get back inside. We managed to speak to one of the pit bosses, asked what’s going on, because the casino had cleared out quite a bit, but there were still people on the slot machines.
“We then went to security who recommended we go to our rooms.”