Local politicians have vowed “not to let the terrorists win” in the face of yesterday’s shocking attack in Nice.
At least 84 people, including children, were killed after a lorry ploughed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day at 11pm in Nice.
The driver swerved in and out of the crowd for 2km (1.2 miles) on the Promenade des Anglais before being shot dead by police.
French President Francois Hollande described the attack as of “an undeniable terrorist nature” and Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared three days of national mourning for the victims from Saturday.
East Antrim DUP MLA Sammy Wilson commented: “People were out for a night’s fun to celebrate Bastille Day and they were mown down: men, women and children.
“My sympathy goes out to these people, the French were out celebrating freedom, liberty and equality and what do they get?
“Of course none of these terrorists believe in any of these ideals.
“As far as they are concerned the more they can impose their warped view the better.”
Mr Wilson urged local people to keep visiting France to support the country, which has been in a state of emergency since last November’s Paris attacks by the militant Islamic State group in which 130 people died.
The state of emergency has now been extended by three months.
“I would urge people to keep going to France to support the community,” Mr Wilson continued.
“During the Troubles we saw sometimes how an event can distort the view of what a place is like.
“To leave a country or to say you won’t go on holiday there because of terrorists gives them success.
“My advice to anyone is: we cannot allow terrorists to win.
“I don’t think this should deter people in any way from going there.”
Reflecting on the recent visit of thousands of Northern Ireland fans to Nice as part of Euro 2016, Mr Wilson continued: “Northern Ireland fans won the hearts of the French people in the Euros, a lot of people were in nice not long ago and probably walked on the same streets and boulevards as they people were mown down on last night.
“It really brings it home,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, UUP Councillor Mark McKinty posted a picture of the French flag and the figure of Marianne, symbolising the French Republic, alongside the words: “Liberté, égalité, fraternité.”
He stated: “On Bastille Day, as any other day in France, there are three simple words which unite all humanity together...LIBERTÉ ~ ÉGALITÉ ~ FRATERNITÉ.”
East Antrim Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson added: “Profound concerns and sympathies to those involved in attack in Nice.”
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Councillor Audrey Wales condemned the attack as an “act of madness.”
“I want to convey my deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of the Bastille Day atrocity and to wish those injured a speedy recovery,” she stated.
“The Promenade des Anglais in Nice was so recently the scene of much enjoyment as Northern Ireland soccer fans joined thousands of other countries’ supporters during the Euro 2016 tournament.
“That has now been defiled by this tragic atrocity.
“The horrific deaths of young and old alike in Nice overnight stand in stark contrast to that commendable coming together of nations in friendly rivalry just a few weeks ago.
“This multiple killing will therefore prove to be futile.
“Our resolve and determination to move forward democratically and peacefully remains as strong as ever.
“The perpetrators may have created fear last night - but not division - as this act of madness is universally condemned among all right-thinking people.”