Members of the large Donegal diaspora based in London have been speaking about the fear and chaos they have endured over recent days as rioting and looting spread out of control across the city.
One Donegal Town man, who was evacuated from his work in Hammersmith on Tuesday, said the scenes were like “Armageddon”.
Communications Engineer, Raymond Britton, originally from Donegal Town was told by office porters at work to flee for his own safety as gangs on a rampage of theft and destruction were closing in.
“It is just like Armageddon. It’s the worst thing I have ever seen,” he said. ”As I drove back up the road all I could see was smoke hitting the horizon where whole buildings were on fire. It’s just a complete nightmare. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Gaoth Dobhair man Pat Doherty, a long-time resident of London, told the Donegal Democrat on Tuesday, he believed the worst of the riots were over, but the shopkeepers in his Shepherd’s Bush neighbourhood were still not convinced.
“By six o’clock they had the shutters down,” he said. “Even the takeaways were closed at that time and that was the first time I’d seen that in 15-20 years here.” Following three days of rioting and looting in other parts of the city, many shopkeepers had been moving stock out of their premises in case the violence spread.
One woman from Donegal Town, now living in Peckham, had a trip home planned prior to the riots but says she was “relieved” to get away from the English capital as the trouble spread across various parts of the country.
Visual artist Niamh O’Doherty was returning home yesterday for a trip that was planned before the riots spread to her Peckham neighbourhood.
“I was very relieved to be able to leave, to be able to go somewhere else,” she said.
She described scenes of large groups of rioters talking and jeering, some holding bricks, bottles or other projectiles, while police in riot gear were attempting to block them.
“I could see up ahead there was smoke in the distance,” Niamh said. “I wanted to get out of there before it kicked off.”
For more on the riots, see Page 4.