We grieve with the people of Barcelona, but atrocity must strengthen our resolve to confront and defeat terrorism
Once again the world's headlines report a tragic story of terrorist attacks, on this occasion in Spain, where 14 people so far have died.
Since this time last year there have seen several attacks involving vehicles being driven into crowds. We grieved at the carnage in Nice, Berlin and London, and for the victims in Manchester and elsewhere.
We again see fear permeating into everyday life, on a sunny day in the tourist season. This is the evil personified by the terrorist who distorts the commonplace into the grotesque, and who wants the fear he thus causes to transform the freedoms we take for granted.
The distress caused by such indiscriminate acts are familiar to those in Northern Ireland, who remember the terrorism that was the backdrop to daily life here.
The Islamist attacks differ from the methods of our home-grown terrorists, but the grief, injury and loss are the same.
Once again we are watching the reactions to such attacks, including the anguish, the righteous anger, the mourning and the defiance.
However, if we are to defeat this evil we need a more concerted international approach, and people and communities must be vigilant in reporting any suspicious behaviour.
Some tourists from Northern Ireland have been recounting their lucky escapes in Barcelona, and as the details of the victims painfully emerge, we realise that these innocent people are human beings like the rest of us.
We also realise that this could have been any one of us.
What has happened in Barcelona, and in the European cities so familiar to us, is a total outrage. The security forces face enormous challenges, but innocent people have a right to be protected.
Our thoughts are with those who mourn loved ones and also the others critically ill in hospital. These latest attacks must strengthen our collective resolve to ensure that terrorism will never win.