Nicholson ‘repulsed’ by Nice carnage and pledges EU response

A man lays flowers outside the French Embassy in London following the attack in Nice

A man lays flowers outside the French Embassy in London following the attack in Nice

An Ulster Unionist politician who had been close by when Islamist extremists launched the Brussels attacks has said he is “repulsed” by what has now unfolded in France.

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson had been in the European parliament about 500 yards from a tube station in March this year when a bomb was detonated there.

Jim Nicholson MEP

Jim Nicholson MEP

At the time, The News Letter had spoken to him as he was effectively confined to the parliament building while security forces locked down the city.

On Friday, he hit out at the latest instance of violence.

He said: “We must re-double our efforts and work ever more closely with our European and trans-Atlantic allies to enhance our security, share intelligence and remove the threat from the terrorists who want to drive us back to the dark ages.

“It will be a slow process, requiring much fortitude and the will to face them down, but it must be done.

“I will be speaking to colleagues from across the EU in the coming days and I know that they will be determined to see a robust, co-ordinated approach to dealing with the terrorism threat.”

A Northern Irish man called Paddy Mullan was quoted by the BBC as an eyewitness to the attack on the city’s promenade.

“This lorry just mounted the kerb across the street from us, and the next thing all you could hear was banging and shouting and screaming,” the Londonderry-based man was quoted as saying by BBC Radio Foyle.

“There was a lot of panic at one stage because we were right in the mix when all this was happening...

“I’ve never seen fear like it in all my life and probably never will again.”