My mum and two brothers and I had just passed the building which was near Notre Dame. We had stopped at a corner when I felt the air around me suck away. Then I saw the glass and a few bricks from a building, a block away, explode. Finally I heard the violent bang. And that was it. One life gone and many others ruined.
We read the papers and listened to the news that evening in our caravan outside Paris. Reunited with my Dad we then travelled down to the South of France where I became friends with teenagers from Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. The first question I was always asked when I told them I was Irish was, "Do you see a lot of bombs in your country?" I usually explained that the bombing going on in Ireland mainly happened in Northern Ireland which was a long way away from where I lived.
When I got home I carried on with the teenage tradition of wandering around town on a Saturday afternoon. However a notion took hold of me that the E.B.S. building on D'Olier Street, made with an all glass front, could explode at any time. I never walked past it again.
The notion that one minute you can be standing peacefully and the next a building is literally tearing you to shreds has disturbed me ever since. As a teenager it made me question humanity. That is why I am a pacifist. Violence can never be the answer.