Derry group stopped minutes before boarding for Brussels

Picture taken with permission from the Facebook site of Jef Versele showing the aftermath of this morning's explosions at Brussels airport
Picture taken with permission from the Facebook site of Jef Versele showing the aftermath of this morning's explosions at Brussels airport

A group of people from Derry were this morning preparing to board the Eurostar bound for Brussels when the first of the deadly bombs in the city exploded.

At least 13 people are now dead and dozens injured following the blasts which have targeted transport links, including an airport and the metro system in Brussels.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Sinn Fein Member of the European Parliament Martina Anderson.

Foyle Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson was among the 10 people from Derry who were part of a 100-strong delegation from across Ireland heading to Belgium to mark the 1916 Centenary ‘Gallant Allies in Europe’, event whoch was scheduled to take place over the next two days.

Some of the Irish delegation who had chosen to go by plane to Brussels meanwhile were turned back in mid-air this morning.

Speaking from the Eurotunnel station in London this morning, Martina Anderson told the Journal: “As much as people here are shocked they are thankful we had chose to go this way as opposed to being in the airport.

“There are a lot of families who are obviously very anxious and there has been a continuous stream of calls from families to every member of the delegation to ensure they are OK.”

Ms Anderson added; “Some of the delegation were in the air and have been diverted to Amsterdam. We were in London about to go on Eurostar but now Brussels has gone into lock down.”

Ms Anderson added that the Derry delegation were now planning to call off the trip and try to get air tickets home via Gatwick. They are planning to make their way to the airport this morning.

The irish delegation had been plannnig to read the 1916 Proclamation on the steps of the European Parliament.