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Belgium will respond with the same resilience as Northern Ireland, says MEP Dodds

By Diane Dodds, MEP

Published 23/03/2016

Diane Dodds
Diane Dodds

When I left home on Monday and arrived at Zaventem airport on my way to work in the European Parliament, everything seemed normal.

Even the sight of an armed patrol outside my hotel in Downtown Brussels was something that I, like the locals, had become accustomed to after the horrific attacks in Paris before Christmas.

So when the news reached me of a bombing at the same airport I had transited the day before, I was shocked.

The pictures told the true story of ordinary people going about their everyday lives, thrown into chaos by the actions of terrorists with a warped ideology.

As I made my way to my office, word had spread on to the streets about what had happened.

The worry was clear to see as people hurriedly made their way, with a fear of what else might happen clear to be seen.

I had only just reached the Parliament building when I heard the unwelcome sound of another explosion.

This was the bomb going off at Maalbeek Metro Station, just one mile away.

Looking out at the host of emergency services vehicles responding to events, it was hard not to think that this was exactly what the terrorists wanted - a city in carnage.

My thoughts went out to those who I work with on a daily basis, from a range of backgrounds and roles, hoping that they were safe.

How often can we say that it is the most undeserving that fall victim to these acts of terror?

We in Northern Ireland know that only too well, and yesterday was no different.

People simply making their way to work, travelling for business or going on holiday, were struck down indiscriminately.

I have no doubt that these events will resonate with many people across our Province.

Our collective experience says that terror will never win, and while it may be hard to come to terms with now, I have no doubt that Brussels and its people - who have opened their arms to me and countless others - will respond with similar resilience and dignity.

Across the United Kingdom, people stand in solidarity with the victims and their families.

There will be those whose lives will be indelibly changed by personal loss or life-changing injury, and they must be given the dedicated support that they need, moving forward.

As democratic nations, we in Europe must do all in our powers to uproot these terrorists before they can strike again.

Above all, we must send a message to those who would attack us, that their cowardly actions can never hope to defeat a free way of life.

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