Friday 23 August 2019

'Paris attacks are an absolute betrayal of the common humanity of man' - Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Kevin Doyle, Group Political Editor

Irish people offer “our total solidarity and support” to France and “barbarity will not be allowed to triumph over civilisation”, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told the Dáil.

TDs from all parties observed a minute’s silence this afternoon in memory of those who died in last Friday’s attack on Paris.

Mr Kenny said: “On Friday, in the slipstream of young life, lived with such joy and love, came death. 

“Anathema, to families, futures, to the idea of a decent and civil and civilised society.

"We think of them and their loved ones today and on behalf of the Government and people of Ireland I extend our deepest sympathies.”

The French Ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thébault was present in the Dáil chamber to hear speeches from all the main party leaders.

Mr Kenny said he was extending his sympathy in particular to the thousands of French people who call Ireland home.

“We recognise and share in your grief at this time,” he said.

“These acts of violence are a betrayal of any sense of religion or goodness. And they are an absolute betrayal of the common humanity of man. This barbarity will not be allowed to triumph over civilisation.

“These attacks must be seen for what they are – an attack on the fundamental values that are held dear, not only in France but in Ireland, throughout Europe and in the democratic world, “Mr Kenny said.

In her speech, Tánaiste Joan Burton said most people were asking ‘why’ these attacks took place.

“Maybe they are psychopaths; maybe they are common criminals.

“In many ways it would be easier for us to explain and to react if that were true,” she said.

“But whatever is true of the individuals who planned and carried out the attack on Paris, it is clear that this was more than the individual acts of deranged people.”

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams criticised what he described as a “misguided war” waged by former US President George W Bush in Afghanistan after the 9/11 atrocities.

He also said the western world has an “inconsistence record” dealing with Islamic fundamentalist groups.

The Garda Commissioner, Noirin O’Sullivan, is carrying out a review to see if any additional resources are needed to fight international terrorism.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald told the Dáil that the gardai must be ready for what is “an evolving” threat.

“I can tell the House that I was impressed by how the Gardaí swung into action last Friday night both in terms of dealing with any threat that might have arisen here and in cooperation with their international partners.

“It was of particular use that An Garda Síochána already had in place a full time liaison officer based in our Embassy in Paris,” she said.

“The Garda Commissioner has assured me that priority has been - and is being - given to the training of specialist units who would be in the front line dealing with attacks. This has included training both at home and abroad and jointly with the Defence Forces. In addition, specialist units here enjoy excellent working relationships with their counterpart units abroad.”

The minister added that it is “”vital that all concerned keep their responses to a fluid and challenging situation under continuous and rigorous review and that is exactly what is happening”.

“This is against the background of the elaborate infrastructure which we have in place for emergency planning.”

She said that “all reasonable steps will be taken to ensure that migration into this country will not be used as a covert route by those who seek to do us harm”.

“We should be very careful to remember not to attribute terrorism to race or religion. It is the fault of terrorists, and the communities which they come from or the faiths which they espouse should not be blackened by their evil deeds.”

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