North's parties suspend general election campaigning as mark of respect to victims of London attack
POLITICAL parties across the north suspended general election campaigning yesterday as a mark of respect for the victims of the London attacks.
The Alliance Party and Ulster Unionists halted campaigning for 24 hours while both the SDLP and Sinn Féin cancelled all election activity for Sunday, apart from local canvassing.
Party leaders last night spoke of their shock at the London attacks which left seven dead and 21 people in a critical condition with scores others also injured.
DUP leader Arlene Foster said democracy would not be thwarted by terrorism.
Joining other political leaders in their expression of sympathy for the families of those killed in the London attack, Mrs Foster praised the security services, the police and the emergency services "for their swift response and bravery".
"Our democracy will not be thwarted or derailed by terrorism," she said. "Northern Ireland stands with the people of London.”
Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill said the attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market were horrific.
"My thoughts are with the families and friends of all those who have lost loved ones and those who were injured, as well as with the emergency services who attended the scenes of this tragedy," she said.
Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann said: “Democracy will overcome terrorism. Our democratic processes and systems are a threat to those who seek their objectives through death and havoc. Their ways have only served to embolden and strengthen our peoples’ resolve to defeat terrorism no matter where or how it manifests itself.”
Alliance Leader Naomi Long said: “My foremost thoughts and prayers go to the loved ones of those killed in London, as well as anyone else caught up in this horrific attack.
“It is difficult to comprehend the mindset of those who would carry out this terror against people simply out enjoying their weekend.
“Despite last night’s incident and the recent attack in Manchester, we must remain strong and continue to live our lives without fear or trepidation.
“By doing so, these terrorists can never win.”
The former MP said London was her second home for five years.
"It is hugely cosmopolitan, yet made up of many bustling, friendly neighbourhood communities. Despite this horror, I know it will not lose that uniquely London aspect to its character," added Mrs Long.
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton also extended his condolences to all of those who have lost loved ones and the injured.
“My thoughts and sympathies are with the people of London following this horrendous attack,” he said.
“We also send our support to our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, British Transport Police and all the emergency services that responded last night.”
The attacks were also condemned by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Ireland who described them as “barbaric”.
“The harming of innocent people can never be justified under any circumstances and so all forms of terrorism and extremism must be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” it said.