Ireland's leading politicians have responded to the assassination attempt on Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico that occurred today, Wednesday, May 15.

“I am deeply shocked by today’s attack on Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico,” Taoiseach Simon Harris said in a statement on Wednesday.

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

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

My thoughts are with Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, our dear European colleague, his family and the people of Slovakia. Keeping him in our prayers today.

A shocking and vile attack on democracy

— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) May 15, 2024

In a separate statement, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins said: “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.

“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.

“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.”

According to Ireland's Central Statistics Office (CSO), there were about 9,500 people from Slovakia usually resident and present in Ireland as per the 2022 Census.

Ireland and Slovakia marked 30 years of diplomatic relations last year.

Slovakia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Juraj Blanár confirmed earlier on Wednesday that Prime Minister Fico was "the target of an assassination which took place shortly after a cabinet meeting in the city of Handlová.

"The assailant hit the Prime Minister with several shots at close range.

"The Prime Minister was transported to a hospital in Banská Bystrica in critical condition."

Juraj said: "I strongly condemn this insidious attack on the Prime Minister as an attack on democracy.

"In this spirit, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic has informed all embassies accredited and pre-accredited to the Slovak Republic, EU representatives, as well as Slovak embassies abroad.

"We thank you for the expressions of solidarity and support. We all believe that the Prime Minister will overcome this difficult fight."

The attempted assassination comes after Fico was returned as Slovakia's Prime Minister for the fourth time last October.

Reuters notes: "An admirer of Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Fico has grown increasingly critical of Western support for Ukraine in its war with invading Russian forces and has expressed opposition to allowing Kyiv to join NATO in the future.

"Fico was forced to resign as premier amid mass protests in 2018 triggered by the contract killing of Jan Kuciak, a journalist who had been investigating high-level corruption.

"Those protests exacerbated divisions in Slovak society that still linger."

Zuzana Čaputová, President of the Slovak Republic, said she was "shocked" by the attack which she described as an "attack on democracy."

She added that police had arrested "the perpetrator" and urged people not to "pass quick judgments." 

I am shocked. We are all shocked by the terrible and vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico. We may not fully comprehend yet the seriousness of what has happened today. The shooting of the Prime Minister is first and foremost an attack on a human being — but it’s also an…

— Zuzana Čaputová (@ZuzanaCaputova) May 15, 2024