By Sarah Mac Donald - 14 November, 2015
Church and State leaders around the world expressed shock at the deaths of at least 120 people in Paris on Friday evening following a coordinated wave of gun and suicide bomb attacks in the French capital.
The most deadly of the incidents occurred at a rock concert at the Bataclan hall where gunmen opened fire inside the venue and killed 100 concert-goers in a siege.
Several people were killed in a number of gun attacks across the city.
Shots were fired in at least two restaurants and two explosions were heard near the Stade de France, where France was playing Germany in an international football match, attended by the French president, François Hollande.
The attacks caused the French president to declare a state of emergency and shut the country’s borders.
Responding to the news, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny tweeted, “This is a shocking attack on humanity. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families. We stand with France tonight.”
In a statement, the Taoiseach said, “Once again we are witnessing carnage on the streets of Paris. Again the capital is suffering at the hands of those who seek only to wreak havoc and destruction on civil society.”
He added, “My thoughts and those of all the Irish people are with the French people this evening. As ever we stand as one with them and will never bend to the evil of terrorism.”
President Michael D. Higgins said in a statement on Friday evening, “I have been shocked to learn of and view the images of the terrible events unfolding in Paris this evening.”
“On behalf of the Irish people and on my own behalf I offer deepest sympathy through President Hollande to the people of France on this dreadful loss of life and appalling injuries.”
“All of our thoughts are with the people of France as events unfold.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Rev Justin Welby tweeted, “Tragic Paris, desperate news of deep tragedy, with heart break for so many. We weep with those affected, pray for deliverance and justice.”
The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin tweeted, “Before going to sleep tonight think of your family and loved ones and #prayforparis
The Archdiocese of Dublin tweeted, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris and France tonight #Paris Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for the people of Paris.”
Elsewhere, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska said on Twitter, “May St Denis and Our Lady of Lourdes intercede tonight for the people of Paris” while Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut tweeted, “My prayers are with the people of Paris tonight. Let us pray for the victims, the hostages, and their families.”
Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas and Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth also voiced prayers on Twitter.
The Islamic Centre of Ireland condemned the attacks and said its thoughts and prayers were with people of Paris.
Shaykh Dr Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri of the Al Mustafa Islamic Centre in Dublin said his thoughts and prayers were with “the people of Paris and every other place on earth plagued by sick men with weapons and bombs”.
In a statement he said, “Terrorists have no religion whatsoever. Their religion is intolerance and hatred for peace.”
He added, “The news from Paris is very frightening. May God be with us all against all types of extremism and terrorism.”