President Michael D. Higgins and Sabina Higgins at the French Embassy in Dublin Monday. Mr. Higgins is signing the Book of Condolences for the victims of the Paris attacks. RollingNews.ie.
By Ray O’Hanlon
The terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday evening has left world leaders contemplating a new phase of the fight again global jihadist terror.
But for most people the immediate reaction was to express horror at the attacks, condolences for the dead and their families, and concern for the injured survivors.
Among the Paris dead was an American student. Among the wounded was an Irish citizen.
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“It was with deep shock and dismay that I learned of this evening’s terrible events in Paris,” said Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan shortly after news of the attack shocked people around the globe.
“I have spoken with France’s Ambassador to Ireland, Jean-Pierre Thébault, and conveyed to him, on behalf of the people of Ireland, deepest condolences and sympathy on this appalling tragedy. I told him that we stand with the people of France at this time of great difficulty and that Ireland will assist in any way possible,” Flanagan said.
Today, Mr. Flanagan was in Brussels to attend a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers.
The terror attacks were front and center on the agenda.
“I condemn the horrific and barbarous terrorist attacks which took place in Paris on Friday night in the strongest terms,” said Flanagan.
“Today’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting provides an important opportunity for EU Ministers to express solidarity and support to the people of France at this time of immense sadness and mourning. I will express the profound condolences of the people of Ireland.
“The Irish government is fully committed to working with France and all of our EU partners to protect our citizens and defend and safeguard our values against attack by savage fanatical terrorists.”
The Brussels meeting observed a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the attacks.
The meeting will also address the follow-up to the outcome of the Valletta and Western Balkan summits on migration, and UN-led efforts to find a political resolution to the conflicts in Libya and Syria.
“The conflicts in Syria and Libya are at the very heart of the forced displacement which has led to the current migration crisis, and of the growing spread of terrorist groups in the region, including ISIS,” said Mr. Flanagan.
Ministers will discuss the situation on the ground in Syria and consider how the EU can support the UN-led process to find a lasting and sustainable settlement of the conflict. The resumption of meaningful peace negotiations at the earliest possible opportunity is the priority for Ireland and the EU. I call on all States with influence on the parties to the conflict to give their full support to the UN’s efforts.”
Earlier, Mr. Flanagan had confirmed that an Irish citizen was injured in the Paris attacks.
“One Irish citizen who was injured by gunshot in the Bataclan theatre incident is still in hospital in a stable condition. Officials from our embassy in Paris and my department in Dublin have remained in close contact with the citizen and their family and with the French authorities.”
A college student from California was among those killed in the terror attacks in Paris.
Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, a senior at California State in Long Beach was among the 129 initially reported killed. 350 were injured, many of them critically.
An immediate effect of the attacks was to raise national security and the war on terror to the top of the agenda in Saturday’s second Democratic presidential debate.
And there has been widespread condemnation and reaction from across the U.S. political spectrum, from President Obama to members of Congress and presidential contenders in both parties.
The Paris attacks, many agree, will turn out to be “game changer” with the absolute defeat of ISIS being the only tolerable result.