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Wednesday 22 November 2017

'No-one can be considered immune from those whose hatred of our values drives such evil acts' - Taoiseach Enda Kenny

A woman blows a kiss after laying flowers for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A woman blows a kiss after laying flowers for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
John Downing

John Downing

Irish people will hold their children all the closer in the wake of the Manchester terror attack, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíll told the Dáil today.

The Dáil chairman opened a special session of tributes and expressions of sympathy in the wake of the Manchester bombing which led to the deaths of some 22 people.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the hearts and thoughts of all Irish people were with the people in Manchester stricken by this horrific terror.

“Those parents who had the privilege to bring children to a concert such as this will know that the excitement goes on for months,” Mr Kenny said.

The Taoiseach said Ireland kept monitoring the threats of terrorism and the authorities were continually vigilant. Mr Kenny said that it was believed that Ireland did not face the same level of terror threat which the UK currently faced.

In a statement, Mr Kenny said:

"I spoke with the Garda Commissioner earlier this morning, as has the Tánaiste and the Cabinet was briefed on developments. 

"The Garda Authorities are in ongoing contact with their UK police and security counterparts, directly and through the Garda Liaison Officer at our Embassy in London, to offer any assistance they can.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and our Embassy in London are monitoring the situation but so far there are no reports of any Irish casualties.

"Last night's attack is a reminder that no-one can be considered immune from those whose hatred of our values drives such evil acts.

"I can assure you that all necessary measures will be taken by our authorities to counteract such deadly threats.  The Garda Authorities will continue also to work closely with their UK, EU and other international counterparts in responding to the threat from international terrorism and violence inspired by extremists."

Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, speaking in Irish expressed his profound sympathy with the families stricken by this terror attack.

“We must work together with other authorities to ensure we never given in to this kind of terror,” the Fianna Fáil leader said.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams also expressed his party’s sympathy and solidarity with the people of Manchester.

“What happened is shocking and reprehensible,” Mr Adams said also paying tribute to the emergency services and people who helped voluntarily.

For the Labour Party, Seán Sherlock, said the terror incident was an attack on democratic values.

“It is an attack on our democratic values and especially on the youth,” Mr Sherlock said.

Solidarity People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, said any attack which deliberately targets children and families is double horrific.

Independents4Change TD Clare Daly said that Manchester was virtually a part of Ireland given the strength of links with the region. But she warned that it was "not an attack on our values" - she also recalled the killing of children  in the Middle East.

Independent TD, Michael Healy Rae, said more must be done to protect young people who are out enjoying themselves. He recalled that one of the victims was just eight years old.

TDs of all parties stood for a minute of silent tribute and solidarity with the victims in Manchester.

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy said the mindset of those  who carried out this outrage was difficult to understand. She said the effort was to create fear and division.

"Atrocities like these leave deep scars with families and communities," Ms Murphy said.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the terror brought out the worst and best of humanity in people. He paid tribute to emergency workers and volunteers like the taxi drivers who turned out to take people home.

"We stand for peace - we achieve it through solidarity," Mr Ryan said.

Pope Francis also expressed his sympathies:

"His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life caused by the barbaric attack in Manchester, and he expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this senseless act of violence.  He commends the generous efforts of the emergency and security personnel, and offers the assurance of his prayers for the injured, and for all who have died.  Mindful in a particular way of those children and young people who have lost their lives, and of their grieving families, Pope Francis invokes God’s blessings of peace, healing and strength upon the nation."

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