Irish horror at Madrid atrocity

There has been strong cross-party condemnation in Ireland for yesterday bombings in Madrid, which left some 200 dead and over a thousand injured.

The attacks are increasingly being blamed on Arab groups linked to al-Qaeda after ETA, which seeks an independent Basque nation, denied involvment in the attacks.

President Mary McAleese conveyed her sympathies to King Juan Carlos I of Spain on the ``terrible loss of innocent life''. She also spoke to the Spanish ambassador to Ireland to express her condolences and those of the Irish people.

In a statement, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, the current president of the European Council, said he ``condemned the atrocity perpetrated against the Spanish people in Madrid''.

``The timing of the bombings was clearly designed to wreak the greatest level of havoc and carnage.''

The Taoiseach send a message of support and sympathy to the Spanish government and its people, adding: ``The thoughts and prayers of people across Europe would be with them''.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams also joined in the cross-party condemnation, labelling the attack ``an appalling act''.

``It is wrong and those involved should stop,'' Mr Adams said.

``Like everyone else I have been horrified by the images of this morning's atrocity and my thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and those who have been injured.''

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© 2003 Irish Republican News