State and Church leaders in Ireland express heartfelt solidarity with Manchester

A ‘cowardly attack on innocent citizens’, says President Michael D Higgins

People leave flowers in St Ann’s Square  in Manchester. Photograph:  J Mitchell/Getty Images

People leave flowers in St Ann’s Square in Manchester. Photograph: J Mitchell/Getty Images


President Michael D Higgins has described the murder of so many young people in Manchester on Monday as a “cowardly attack on innocent citizens” which “will have appalled all those who care for democracy, freedom and the right to live and enjoy the public space”.

Offering his sympathy and that of the Irish people to the families of those who lost their lives and were injured, he said, “Manchester has been home to the Irish and so many nationalities for centuries and at this terrible time I want to send the people of this great and welcoming city not only our sympathy but our solidarity.

“Our thoughts in Ireland are with all of the people of Manchester and our neighbours throughout the United Kingdom at this time.”

Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin has sent a message to John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, “to express our shock and sorrow at the horrific bombing”.

He said, “Such an awful attack challenges us all to resolve personally to build peace, solidarity and hope everywhere.” He said he would “remember the victims of this attack and their families in my Masses and prayers, and I know that the prayerful solidarity of people across Ireland goes to the people of Manchester at this sad time”.

The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson said, “Our hearts go out to the people of Manchester.” It is “a city many of us will know intimately” and the children and young people affected had been enjoying a concert “as many children and young people like them did in Dublin over the weekend when the same artist performed here. We pray that they can find the peace of God in the midst of this tragedy.”

Books of condolence have been opened in both Christ Church Cathedral and St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rev Dr Frank Sellar offered his “prayers and heartfelt sympathy” to all those who were caught up in Monday night’s suicide bombing in Manchester.

He said, “We can little comprehend the searing pain and loss that so many families are experiencing and coming to terms with today.”

President of the Methodist Church in Ireland Rev Bill Mullally said he was appalled by the event and that “an attack on our young people is an attack on us all”.