Tánaiste describes Berlin attack as ‘unspeakably evil’
Garda sources say no impact on risk assessment here, where suspects are monitored
Rescue workers tow the truck that ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in in Berlin on Monday night. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
The truck that was driven into a crowded Christmas market Monday evening. Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP
German chancellor Angela Merkel with Berlin’s mayor Michael Mueller and German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere lay down flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims of an attack in Berlin. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty
The attack at a Berlin Christmas market on Monday night that killed 12 people and injured dozens more was “unspeakably evil”, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has said. “This appears to have been an attack not just on people innocently going about their business preparing for Christmas, but on freedom itself,” she said. “Our values of democracy and liberty are the target of those who wish to see a world of dark tyranny imposed on us all.”
Ms Fitzgerald, the Minister for Justice, said there was an international determination to counteract this threat. “An Garda Síochána will continue to work closely with their international colleagues to this end,” she said.
Garda sources said the attacks had no impact on the risk assessment in the Republic, where terror suspects and those known to have fought in conflict zones were being monitored. There was still no specific threat to Ireland, although the Irish authorities were in constant contact with other nations, especially the UK and US, to share information.
Garda officers said the new armed response unit for Dublin launched last week would provide armed cover for the city’s airport and port, but they insisted that the unit’s members would be supporting an already robust immigration and security system at points of entry to the State.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the Berlin incident as a “barbaric attack”. He said such an act of violence had no place in society and constituted an attack on “our fundamental values”. “On behalf of the Irish Government, I extend my condolences to the families of those killed,” he said.
President Michael D Higgins condemned the attack in Berlin along with the incidents in Zürich, where a mosque was attacked, and in Ankara, where the Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead.
“The events of the last 48 hours that have included the killing of citizens at a Christmas market in Berlin, an attack on a place of prayer in Zürich and the killing of the Russian ambassador at a public event in Ankara are, as other attacks before, calculated to sow fear at the heart of our societies,” he said.
The President conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims. “I wish all the survivors and their communities strength and confidence in these difficult times,” he said. “We must strengthen our resolve not to let such attacks undermine the way of life in our global community, seeking to live in diversity and peace.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan also extended his sincere condolences to the families of the victims. “Ireland stands in solidarity with Germany, ” he said. Mr Flanagan said Irish citizens in Berlin should follow the advice of local authorities and make contact with their families who might be concerned. He advised anyone concerned about Irish citizens in Berlin to call 01-408 2000.