NI political parties suspend campaigning after Manchester bomb

Emergency services at Manchester Arena
Emergency services at Manchester Arena

The five main political parties in Northern Ireland have suspended campaigning in the General Election after the bomb in Manchester.

News of the suspension emerged in the last hour.

Last night a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including children, as an explosion tore through fans leaving a pop concert in Manchester.
Some 59 people were also injured when the blast caused by an improvised explosive device carried by the attacker detonated at the Manchester Arena.
Announcing that the death toll had risen, Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins said: "What I can confirm is that there are children among the deceased."

DUP leader Arlene Foster tweeted: "I have asked all DUP candidates to suspend their campaigning today. 22 dead including children. Horrific injuries. Terrorism must never win."

Ulster Unionist Party leader, Robin Swann MLA, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and those injured in the attack at the Manchester Arena last night. This was a barbaric attack on our young people and families out for an evening of entertainment. It is an attempt to destroy our way of life and will not succeed. We stand united with the people of Manchester to face down the terrorists who carried out this cowardly act. As a parent I can only imagine the hurt and pain which the parents of the children killed and injured are going through. I hope they gain strength to carry them through the dark days ahead and wish a speedy recovery to those injured.

“The Ulster Unionist Party will be suspending campaigning today as a mark of respect and in a stance of solidarity with the people of Manchester.”

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood suspended the party’s election campaign, including today’s planned manifesto launch, in solidarity with the people of Manchester following last night’s attack.

He said: “Today the thoughts of the SDLP, our candidates and our members are with the victims of the attack on Manchester.

“This was a heartbreaking act of barbarism.

“Today is a day for unity of purpose, not party political difference. I have therefore suspended the SDLP’s election campaign for 24 hours as a mark of respect.

“The people of Ireland understand the tragic pain of loss that those in Manchester are feeling. We stand with the people of Manchester today, unbroken, unbowed and resolutely determined to defeat those responsible.”

A Sinn Fein statement said: "In light of the tragic events in Manchester last night the scheduled Sinn Féin Billboard launch for today will now no longer go ahead out as a mark of respect for the victims and their families."

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