Emma asks Government about help for Paris survivors

November 23, 2015

130711 - Emma Lerwell Buck MP smallLast week Emma questioned the Home Secretary about support for British citizens resident in France who had been caught up in the horrific terrorist attacks by ISIS in Paris. Michael O’Connor, a constituent of Emma’s temporarily living in France, was one of a number of British people involved in the attacks across the French capital.

Emma asked:

Michael O’Connor from South Shields lay on top of his girlfriend in the Bataclan; as shots fired around him and bodies fell, he lay there still, pretending to be dead. Michael’s actions saved both of their lives, and I am sure that the Home Secretary will join me in commending his brave actions. I welcome what she said about the support that the Government are offering to British citizens caught up in the aftermath of the attacks. I would like some confirmation that such support will be extended to those who are temporarily resident in Paris, such as my constituent Michael.”

The Home Secretary responded stating that there would be consular support available and that the Government was looking at what wider assistance could be made available through the Department of Health. She also commended Michael O’Connor’s actions on the evening. Emma was deeply disappointed following the statement when the Foreign Office’s initial offer of help constituted of an NHS leaflet on how to cope with trauma.  After multiple attempts at accessing the help promised by the Home Secretary, Emma was eventually able to access support for Michael via the British Consulate.

Speaking afterwards, Emma said:

“It is frustrating and unacceptable that despite assurances to the House the Government had not set up any additional accessible support systems for British citizens. In fact, the support eventually offered is being provided by the British Red Cross from the Consulate in Paris. However I am pleased that I was able to assist Michael and I sincerely hope he, and all others who suffered in these horrendous attacks are getting the help and support they need” 

You can read Emma’s question and the full statement here.

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