A survivor of a bomb that killed six people in Coleraine has hit out at a leading travel company over the risk of terrorist attacks on Egyptian resorts.
David Gilmore – who was just 10 years old when he narrowly escaped injury in the 1973 IRA atrocity – has booked a holiday to Sharm el Sheikh with Falcon and was due to travel this Wednesday.
Yesterday, the German government advised its citizens against travelling to any Egyptian destinations prompting automatic refunds for German customers.
However, as of last night, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was still excluding the Red Sea resorts from its list of danger zones.
Following an upsurge in violence – centred around the capital Cairo where at least 638 people have been killed in recent days – Mr Gilmore decided he was no longer comfortable travelling to Sharm el Sheikh but will lose his money unless the FCO issues similar advice.
An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday night called for “maximum restraint” from the Egyptian government and its opponents to prevent the violence spreading. However, the Muslim Brotherhood has called for protest marches on the streets of Cairo, giving rise to fears of further turmoil. The latest deaths occurred when pro-government forces attacked two camps where supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi had gathered to demand his reinstatement.
Mr Gilmore said there were “no guarantees” that Sharm el Sheikh would be safe. He has been increasingly concerned for his safety since hearing of police ordering holidaymakers off the streets there after 7pm.
“Their attitude is ‘if you cancel we keep your money’, but I don’t think that’s fair. The FCO has put a ban on travelling outside so-called safe areas and there is a curfew in place from 7pm. What is the point of going?” he said. “If I go I would be living on my nerves until I come home again. I’m in the position where I lose my money or go on a holiday I won’t enjoy.”
A Falcon spokeswoman said customer safety was the main priority, but highlighted that the FCO was not currently advising British nationals to leave the country and the advice has not changed for Sharm el Sheikh.
She said Falcon was continuing to monitor the situation closely in Egypt, but added: “All of our customers are in Sharm el Sheikh which is a considerable distance, indeed, an eight-hour drive, from Cairo.”