People in Belfast expressed their shock at Saturday night’s terror attack in London as a book of condolence was opened yesterday in city hall.
The book was officially opened by new Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister who said: “I think it’s really important that we’re able to express our friendship to the people of London.
“It’s at times like this – that unfortunately they’re very scary incidents – but they make a city become a family.”
The Alliance councillor added: “I wanted to make sure London knows Belfast is with them.”
Belfast man Gareth McGregor was one of those who signed the book of condolence.
Just a few weeks ago the 36-year-old had been eating in the restaurant outside which the terrorists were shot dead on Saturday night.
He said: “That part of London is beautiful. I would go there a lot, it’s one of my favourite places to visit. It brings it home to you when you know the area where this has taken place. I would have been there myself around three weeks ago.”
He said a terrorist strategy to tackle the increasing number of attacks in the UK needed to be debated nationally.
Mum Sarah Jamison said: “I just hope it gets better before it gets any worse.
“Hopefully Theresa May puts these people who they know about out of the country. Something needs to be done. It can’t go on. We’ve been through it here.”
The 35-year-old added that the recent attacks have made her think more about her family’s safety. She said: “It’s always in the back of your mind now when you’re in big open spaces with lots of people. But you can’t let it stop you going out. You can’t become a prisoner in your own home.”
Hannelore Bromund from Germany, who was visiting for the day on a cruise ship, said: “It is painful to see and to hear what happened there. Everyone in our group is so shocked.
“Of course these attacks make us frightened but we travel to places all over the world and we will keep travelling to beautiful places like Belfast.”
Belfast woman Ann Dickson said: “We put up with this for over 30 years with the IRA. We didn’t get half the publicity that they’re getting in London and Manchester. Let’s hope Theresa May gets in again and deals with these people – ISIS or whoever they are – and gets rid of them. They can’t keep allowing them into our country.”
Her husband Billy added: “The government has a duty to protect its people. We need to get to the source of why these people are doing what they’re doing, if it is motivated by the teachings of their religion.”
Christina McLaren, 73, from Eglinton, said: “My heart breaks for the innocent people who are suffering because there’s so much badness in the world.”