Northern Ireland news

Political leaders send thoughts and prayers after Nice attack

First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness spoke of their sadness at the atrocity in Nice

POLITICAL leaders in Northern Ireland have spoke of their sadness at the atrocity that unfolded in the French city of Nice.

First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness last night said the "futile" act would only strengthen democracy.

In a joint statement they said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones or have been seriously injured in this vicious attack.

"Many of our football supporters enjoyed attending the European Championships in France in recent weeks and the scene of devastation and pain this morning are in stark contrast to the carnival atmosphere and warmth people from across Europe enjoyed.

"The people who carried out this attack want to create fear and division. Their actions have resulted in the loss of many lives of people of different nationalities. Their acts are futile and will serve only to strengthen our resolve and determination that democratic means are the only way forward.

"We offer our deepest sympathies and support to President Hollande and all the people of France."

Alliance party deputy leader Naomi Long said: "Many local people will have experienced the beauty of Nice recently, as Northern Ireland played their first game at the European Championship there.

"The people of Nice showed the supporters the very best hospitality and we stand with them in solidarity after this horror."

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Hilary McClintock said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have been bereaved and all those who have been injured.

"I am also aware that there are many people from our own city and district who are holidaying in the area at this time and I sincerely hope that all the local families will soon have reassurance from their loved ones as to their safety.

"All of us in Northern Ireland are aware of the devastation of terrorism and the impact it has on communities and I utterly condemn this act of violence that has resulted in such carnage and devastation."

Green Party leader Steven Agnew said: "Words of condemnation seem so empty after what has been a devastating and brutal attack.

"I can only imagine the terror people in France are experiencing. There are no simple solutions to terrorism and we should be wary of those who offer them.

"However, we must co operate internationally to make it as difficult as possible for people who wish to inflict death and suffering."

Meanwhile, President Michael D Higgins said he had spoken to the French Ambassador in Dublin offering his sympathy and requesting his message on behalf of the Irish people be passed to President Hollande.

President Higgins described his "great shock and sadness" about the devastating attack.

"With its appalling loss of life, including children, it will be received with revulsion by all those who value democracy," he said.

"This cowardly attack in a public place on a national day of celebration must be condemned in the strongest terms.

"We must strengthen our resolve not to let such cold-blooded attacks undermine the way of life in our global community seeking to live in diversity and peace."

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