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Paris attacks must not obstruct Syria and refugee efforts, says Enda Kenny

Published 17/11/2015

Enda Kenny signs the book of condolence for the victims of the attacks in Paris at the French embassy in Dublin
Enda Kenny signs the book of condolence for the victims of the attacks in Paris at the French embassy in Dublin

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the Paris terror atrocities should not obstruct work to find solutions to the war in Syria and migration and refugee crisis.

After signing the book of condolence at the French embassy in Dublin and joining a minute's silence in the Dail, the country's political leaders expressed their disgust at the attacks which left 129 dead and more than 350 injured.

Mr Kenny offered France "our total solidarity and support".

"In formulating the international response, we must seek to tackle the root causes," he said.

"We must not allow this tragedy to deflect us in finding a balanced and humane approach, to work to find a solution in Syria, and to the migration crisis. We must continue to work for peace and stability in regions where fear and violence hold too much sway and to prevent radicalisation."

Mr Kenny said Islamic State terrorists have betrayed any sense of religion, goodness or humanity but their "barbarity will not be allowed to triumph over civilisation".

"We remain steadfast and united in our determination to counter the threat posed by global terrorism and all forms of radicalism that have at their heart the desire and intention to divide, dismantle and destroy," he said.

Mr Kenny vowed to ensure greater information-sharing across borders to "deter and disrupt" terrorists from travelling, while increasing vigilance within Ireland's borders.

"The sad reality is that, just like other democratic states, we in Ireland cannot consider ourselves immune from the threat posed by international terrorism and extremism," he said.

One Irish man, David Nolan, remains in hospital in Paris after being shot in the Bataclan concert venue.

His girlfriend Katie Healy has revealed how he lay across her, shielding her from bullets as gunmen opened fire indiscriminately on the music fans.

Tanaiste Joan Burton said IS will ultimately be defeated in a military war but extremism must also be beaten on the streets of the West.

"The battle for the allegiance of our own citizens; the battle to defeat extremism - not in the deserts of the Middle East, but in the banlieues of Paris, the back streets of Brussels and in the Muslim communities of most of our major cities - t his battle can only be truly won by defining our Western society as one that is truly republican. One which imposes rights and responsibility in a way which is blind as to colour, religion and ethnicity."

Ms Burton said leaders must demonstrate that a secular republic is not the enemy of Islam or of any religion and at the same time fascist beliefs will not be tolerated.

The statements were made as France invoked a never-before-used EU "mutual defence clause" to demand that its partners provide support for its operations against IS in Syria, Iraq and other locations.

Alongside that, the EU's justice and home affairs ministers will hold talks on the response to terror threats on Friday.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said all reasonable steps will be taken to ensure that migration into Ireland will not be used as a covert route for terrorists.

"We should be very careful to remember not to attribute terrorism to race or religion," she said.

"It is the fault of terrorists, and the communities which they come from or the faiths which they espouse should not be blackened by their evil deeds.

"What happened in Paris on Friday night was a stark reminder of the dangers we face from international terrorism, but it did not change the fact that a human catastrophe involving many migrants still needs to be addressed."

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