President Michael D Higgins has led political expressions of shock and sympathy in Ireland following the terror attack in Nice.
President Higgins said he could only feel great “shock and sadness” upon hearing the news as it emerged from the southern French city on Thursday night. He said the attack, “with its appalling loss of life, including children, will be received with revulsion by all those who value democracy. I wish to express my sincerest condolences to the families of all those bereaved and injured”.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that on behalf of himself, the Government, and the Irish people he wanted “to express our deepest sympathies and our solidarity to President Hollande and to all of France”.
He said the people of France “have suffered appallingly and have again been the victim of cynical, and wanton violence”.
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said his department and the Irish Ambassador in France Geraldine Byrne Nason are still working to confirm the details surrounding an Irishman injured in the attack.
Mr Flanagan said the attack, as people were out celebrating Bastille Day, was particularly horrendous: “I deplore the loss of life, and offer heartfelt condolences to the people of France.”
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said: “My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the people who were killed last night in Nice. We must all stand together in total condemnation of this tragedy.”
French Ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thébault came out strongly to say France, and the West, must remain united and strong in the face of the continued threat of terror.
Mr Thébault said it was an attack on core French and Western values: “They want to end our freedom; they want us to limit our freedom; they want to [devour] us by making us change our lives and the way of thinking.
“We must uphold our freedoms. We must all be aware we need to fight and that this is a war we are fighting, a new kind of war that extends everywhere. These terrorists are not recognised by any country or any religion. They are mass murderers and, like a cancer, they spread,” Mr Thébault said.
The Mansion House will open a public book of condolence on Monday morning.
Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald yesterday said security levels at large events in Ireland would have to be reviewed, and the international community would confront terrorists. The Nice atrocity was “an attack on our democratic values and we will fight back”.
Ms Fitzgerald said she had spoken to the Garda commissioner to assess threat levels.
“Any public event where hundreds of people are gathering requires security of a different sort now. Every police force across Europe is reviewing their security all the time, in face of unprecedented and different types of terrorist attacks.”
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