SIPTU General President, Jack O’ Connor, has offered his union’s condolences to the families and communities of those killed in the atrocity in Nice, France, last night (Thursday, 14th July). He strongly condemned the attack which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians as they celebrated Bastille Day, a public holiday which symbolises the unity of the French nation. He said: “On behalf of our union I express my deepest condolences and solidarity to all those affected by the tragic events in Nice last night. In the face of this outrage perpetrated against them, the people of France must remain united, bound by the principles of the French Republic – Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. “Even as we absorb the scale of the violence we must also remain vigilant. We cannot allow the actions of a few to besiege our democracies with fear and violence. We must also not allow these attacks to be exploited by the xenophobic right to create the circumstances for accelerating the cycle of violence and division. Everything possible must be done to confront those who seek to provoke inter-communal strife.” He added: “Together, we must combat these attacks with solidarity and renew our commitment to building societies which are based on mutual respect and understanding of all cultures and traditions. Moreover, it is incumbent on us as to increase the vigour in which we, together with the people of the Middle East, search for just and lasting peaceful solutions to the conflicts in that region. In Europe, we must redouble our efforts to combat Islamophobia and develop a more humane response to the ongoing refugee crisis.”