Ambassador thanks the west of Ireland for support after Paris attacks

Jean-Pierre Thébault in Galway to receive book of condolences for Charlie Hebdo

The French ambassador to Ireland, Jean-Pierre Thébault, has paid tribute to the people of Galway and the west of Ireland for their "solidarity" after last month's attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris.

Mr Thébault was in the city to receive a book of condolence, which includes illustrations by a number of cartoonists with Galway links, including Tom Mathews, Allan Cavanagh, Richard Chapman and Ted Turton.

Mr Thébault, who also welcomed Catherine Gagneux as the new French honorary consul in Galway, said that he had been "overwhelmed" by the depth of support expressed by "tens of thousands" of Irish people in the wake of the attacks.

"It was a very moving moment for me to be here and to receive so many expressions of sympathy from farmers living in remote places to schoolchildren to students in colleges and, of course, President Michael D Higgins, " he said.

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Speaking at the Galway city museum yesterday, Mr Thébault said that the reaction was “so fantastic and so deeply felt” that it “made us in the embassy rediscover the significance of Irish-French relations” and the close links between the two countries. Some 2,000 French people live in Galway, and more than 100,000 French people visit Galway and Connemara annually, he noted.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times