President Michael D Higgins expresses sympathies to loved ones of murdered MP Sir David Amess

President Michael D Higgins expresses sympathies to loved ones of murdered MP Sir David Amess

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has extended his “deepest sympathies” to the loved ones of the murdered parliamentarian Sir David Amess.

The shocking attack, which took place outside Mr Amess's parliamentary surgery at around midday on Friday, has since been declared a terrorist incident.

President Higgins joined the well-spring of sorrow and condemnation from public figures of different political stripes in response to what UK Home Secretary Priti Patel described as an “attack on democracy itself”.

He said: “May I express my deepest sympathies to the family, friends, colleagues in Parliament and constituents of Sir David Amess, who was murdered while carrying out that most fundamental act of a politician, meeting with his constituents, assisting them with their issues.

“All of those who value representative politics will think also today of the family of the late Jo Cox, who was taken from her family in June 2016.

“I know that all those who serve the people of the United Kingdom will have been deeply affected by these two murders and on behalf of the Irish people, I send them our deepest sympathies.”

The MP for Southend West was stabbed at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, in Essex, on Friday, 15 October.

He was attending his regular Friday surgery with constituents and only 15 minutes before the attack, the 69-year-old father-of-five was stood on the church steps, chatting and laughing with locals.

At around 12:05 BST on Friday, Sir David walked into the church, accompanied by two female staff, to meet with his constituents.

According to the BBC, Local councillor John Lamb said that this was the point when the attacker emerged from a small group of waiting constituents, and proceeded to stab Sir David multiple times.

"I'm told that when he went in for his surgery there were people waiting to see him, and one of them literally got a knife out and just began stabbing him," Mr Lamb said.

Within minutes, Police arrived at the scene in Eastwood Road North where they found the MP with multiple and severe injuries, and arrested a man.

It has since been seclared a terrorist incident by the Metropolitan Police.

The initial investigation has revealed "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism", according to Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the killing was "absolutely wrong and we cannot let that get in the way of our functioning democracy".

While the police are not looking for another suspect, all lines of inquiry are being pursued and the investigation is ongoing.