Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Sunday, 8 March 2009

Antrim shooting: Political reaction

Two military personnel have been shot dead by gunmen at the Massereene army barracks in Antrim. Four other people - two military and two civilian - have been wounded.

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN

I think the whole country is shocked and outraged at the evil and cowardly attacks on British soldiers who were serving their country, on civilians just going about their ordinary duty, and my first thoughts and my condolences go to those families where people have died and those families where there are those people who are injured who will need the best of medical attention, and they will get it. Our first priority has always been the security of people in Northern Ireland, and we'll do everything in our power to make sure that Northern Ireland is safe and secure, and I assure you that we will bring these murderers to justice.

NORTHERN IRELAND FIRST MINISTER PETER ROBINSON

These murders were a futile act by those who command no public support and have no prospect of success in their campaign. It will not succeed. I offer my sympathy to the families of those who were killed or injured and make it clear that we will not be diverted from the direction which Northern Ireland has taken.

SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS

Last night's attack was an attack on the peace process. It was wrong and counter productive. Those responsible have no support, no strategy to achieve a United Ireland. Their intention is to bring British soldiers back onto the streets. They want to destroy the progress of recent times and to plunge Ireland back into conflict. Irish republicans and democrats have a duty to oppose this and to defend the peace process. There should be an end to actions like the one in Antrim last night. Sinn Fein has a responsibility to be consistent. The logic of this is that we support the police in the apprehension of those involved in last night's attack.

NORTHERN IRELAND SECRETARY SHAUN WOODWARD

The contrast between those who serve the community and those who would destroy it could not be clearer. The people who did this will be pursued and they will never stop the political process in Northern Ireland.

IRISH PRIME MINISTER, TAOISEACH BRIAN COWEN

I condemn in the strongest possible terms the murders in Antrim. I extend my heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved and to the injured. I look forward to seeing those responsible brought swiftly to justice.We had all hoped that senseless violence was a thing of the past. Violence has been utterly rejected by the people of this island, both North and South. A tiny group of evil people can not and will not undermine the will of the people of Ireland to live in peace together.

UUP LEADER SIR REG EMPEY

Today is a sad day for Northern Ireland as cowardly terrorists have tried to take us back to our troubled past. Why can't these so-called dissidents accept the democratically expressed views of people, parties and governments on both sides of the UK/RoI Border and allow us to build peace and new opportunities? We must not allow a miniscule terrorist faction to set a new and utterly ruthless agenda.

SDLP LEADER MARK DURKAN

Such terrorism achieves nothing but grief and injury for victims and shock and disgust across the community. So-called dissident republicans are not proving anything that we don't know. We know they are opposed to peace and we know their capacity to attack, threaten, disrupt and even to kill. They need to understand this is not an attack on the British army but the Irish people who have voted for, and value above all else, peaceful politics and democratic accommodation.

ALLIANCE LEADER DAVID FORD

My thoughts are with victims and their loved ones at this time of shock and deep sadness.This attack highlights the real need for an intelligence-based approach to tackling the threat of terrorism. These individuals need to be caught as quickly as possible. Northern Ireland cannot and must not be pushed back towards the precipice.



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