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Charlie Flanagan says attack in Ireland is 'unlikely' and gardaí are 'fully in control of situation'

Leo Varadkar, meanwhile, said the fact the London attack came so soon after the Manchester bombing “only adds to the horror”.

khan Mayor of London Sadiq Khan Source: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 6.25pm

BRITISH, IRISH AND world leaders have condemned last night’s terror attack in central London, reacting with both outrage and solidarity.

Seven people died as a result of the attack and dozens more were injured, some seriously.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the incident was “a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night,” adding: “There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts.”

Speaking outside No 10 Downing Street this morning, British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are, things need to change…

There is far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.

May said the three terrorist attacks the UK has experienced in the last three months – two in London and one in Manchester – are not connected but highlight a new trend, noting: “Terrorism breeds terrorism.”

She described the ideology of Islamist extremism behind the attacks is a “perversion of Islam” and said defeating it is “one of the great challenges of our time”.

As a mark of respect, the main political parties are suspending general election campaigning today. However, May said campaigning will resume tomorrow and the election will go ahead as planned on Thursday, adding that attacks like this cannot disrupt the democratic process.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted about the “brutal and shocking incidents” and thanked the emergency services who responded.

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan also condemned the “cowardly and barbaric attacks”.

For the second time in two weeks, the ordinary people of the UK have been subjected to cowardly and barbaric attacks. Ireland stands with the UK and condemns these acts utterly.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation. Anyone who has serious concerns about loved ones in London can contact my Department in Dublin on 01 408 2000, or the Irish Embassy in London on 00 44 207 235 2171.”

The Irish Embassy in London is monitoring the situation, but it’s not believed any Irish people were caught up in the attack.

‘Important to be prepared’

Fine Gael leader and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has indicated he intends to establish a Cabinet-level committee on national security similar to the Cobra committee in the UK, which deals with major crises such as terrorism.

Ireland’s security status has not changed but a spokesperson for Varadkar said:

Although Ireland is not at high risk of a terrorist attack, it is important to be prepared for every eventuality.

The new committee would allow greater ministerial involvement in preparing for and managing major security threats, and more extensive cross-departmental cooperation on these issues.

Varadkar said the fact the London attack came so soon after the Manchester bombing “only adds to the horror”.

leo2 Leo Varadkar Source: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

“Once again innocent people have been targeted in the most craven  and horrific manner. We extend our solidarity  to the people of the UK and condemn this incident in the strongest possible terms,” Varadkar said.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s This Week, Flanagan said an attack is “unlikely” to happen in Ireland, but we must remain vigilant.

We don’t have any direct evidence of any threat here for Ireland in terms of our national security but, of course, we’re by no means immune, we’re by no means exempt. Our threat level is currently moderate.

Flanagan said he is “absolutely confident that the Garda Siochána, at every level, are fully in control of the situation here, the sharing of the intelligence internationally and obviously securing the State here from a national perspective”.

90507140 Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

He said Ireland will continue to work with Britain and other European countries in tackling violent extremism.

“It’s absolutely essential that we use every possible resource to cover every possible angle, and cyber security is of course an issue and this was an issue that was discussed at the most recent meeting of the National Security Committee.

“We have an ongoing review of strategy, our national strategy. Our international engagement does not remain static or constant, but it is reviewed on an ongoing basis across a range of government departments and we’re very much on top of things here.”

In a statement released this morning, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “We utterly condemn the cowardly attack in London last night and reject the warped motives and world view behind them. This is sheer madness.

“Ireland will continue to work exceptionally closely with the UK and all of our colleagues on security matters and prevention as far as possible. ”

The attack was also condemned by Tánasite and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, who said: ”Last night’s attack in London is another depraved and cowardly attack on innocent people. Our first thoughts are with the families of those killed and with the injured victims.

I have spoken this morning with the Garda Commissioner who briefed me on developments. The garda authorities remain in close contact with their counterparts in London and will offer whatever support they can.
‘Real Muslims’

In a statement, President Michael D Higgins said: “This latest terrible attack in London will be rightly condemned by all those who believe in the rights of our public to live their lives in the public space.

To our neighbours in the United Kingdom I send the sympathy and support of the Irish people, and in particular the heartfelt sympathy to the families of those who have lost their lives, and our thoughts and wishes for such recovery as is possible to the injured and their families.

The attack was condemned across the political spectrum, with Fianna Fáil leader describing it as “a callous attack on people who were simply enjoying life”, while Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said: “I offer my sincere condolences to the victims and the families of those killed and injured and to the people of London.”

Shaykh Dr Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri, chair of the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council, tweeted that “real Muslims” were praying last night, ”not killing innocent people”.

Tweet by @Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri Source: Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri/Twitter

‘We will be there’

US President Donald Trump said the country would do “whatever” it could to “help out in London”.

trump Source: Twitter

The US State Department called the assaults “cowardly attacks targeting innocent civilians” and added: “The United States stands ready to provide any assistance authorities in the United Kingdom may request.”

US pop star Ariana Grande, whose concert in Manchester two weeks ago was the scene of a deadly suicide bombing in which 22 people were killed, tweeted: “Praying for London.”

World leaders

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We are united in terror and sadness, but just as decisively … In the fight against all forms of terrorism, we stand firmly and decisively at the side of Great Britain.”

Leaders from around the world tweeted statements about the attack, including First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian President Justin Trudeau, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English.

emm Source: Twitter

Macron tweeted: “In the face of this new tragedy, France is more than ever at Britain’s side. My thoughts go out to the victims and their loved ones.”

Contains reporting from © AFP 2017

Read: ‘It was a rampage’: Six people killed and three suspects shot dead in London terror attack

Read: London terror attack: Pedestrians knocked down, people stabbed and attackers shot dead

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