Assassination attempt on Slovakian prime minister is ‘attack on democracy’, says Taoiseach

Assassination attempt on Slovakian prime minister is ‘attack on democracy’, says Taoiseach

THE shooting of Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico in broad daylight yesterday afternoon was an “attack on democracy” Taoiseach Simon Harris has said.

Mr Fico, 59, was shot several times outside a cultural centre in the town of Handlova, around 85 miles northeast of the Slovakian capital Bratislava, while he was meeting with local supporters.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico being transported from a helicopter by medics to the hospital in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia where he is to being treated for multiple gunshot wounds

A 71-year-old suspect, who was arrested at the scene, remains in custody, but a motive for the attack remains unclear.

Slovakia’s Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estoka has described the incident as a politically motivated assassination attempt.

Mr Fico is reportedly fighting for his life in an intensive care unit at the F. D. Roosevelt University Hospital in Banska Bystrica after undergoing five hours of surgery there yesterday.

Security personnel apprehending a suspected gunman after Mr Fico was shot in Handlova

Hospital director Miriam Lapunikova told a press conference that his condition "is truly very serious".

In a statement Taoiseach Simon Harris said he was “shocked” by the assassination attempt.

“I am deeply shocked by [the] attack on Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico,” he said.

“The attack on Prime Minister Fico is an attack on democracy, a fundamental value of the European Union and one we all share,” he added.

“All of our thoughts and our solidarity are with Robert, his family and the Slovakian people.”

Slovakian Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak speaks to media outside hospital where Mr Fico is undergoing treatment

President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins has also shared his “concern and shock” at the attack.

“As President of Ireland, I join with all those who have expressed concern and shock at the shooting of the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico,” he said.

“The attempted assassination of a democratically elected Head of Government, following a government meeting, is deeply shocking and will be condemned by all of those who believe in democracy and the rule of law.”

He added: “May I express my very best wishes and my hopes that Prime Minister Robert Fico makes a full recovery.

“To Prime Minister Fico, his family and colleagues and to the Slovakian people at this most difficult time, I send my expression of best wishes at getting past this terrible action.”