Mass racist attacks on Romanians in Ireland
A hundred Romanians have had to spend the night in a church hall after suffering a series of racist attacks in Northern Ireland. The group consisted of 20 different families and included a five-year-old girl.
The attacks, which have gone on for a week now, occurred in the Lisburn road area of Belfast. The council is set to meet with police and social services later to discuss the situation.
Deputy first minister Martin McGuinness called it a “totally shameful episode”.
“We need a collective effort to face down this criminals in society who are quite clearly intent on preying on vulnerable women and children,” he said.
Most of the families do not wish to return to the area and will stay at a leisure centre tonight in south Belfast.
“They have a right to be in Belfast they are part of the fabric of this city. I want to see them treated with the respect and dignity that I would demand for any other citizen,” said Lord Mayor Naomi Long.
“This is a small number of people who are engaged in this violence. I understand this is cold comfort to the people affected by it.”
Malcolm Morgan, pastor at the church, said he intended to prove to the families that Belfast was not composed entirely of the type of people who attacked them.
“It’s a sad indictment of our society, but hopefully we can show them a different side to Northern Ireland and a caring side of Northern Ireland,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the police service of Northern Ireland said: “Police in the south Belfast area assisted several organisations in the temporary relocation of a number of families following consultation with community representatives.
“Families moved to a near-by church and they are being cared for by the appropriate agencies.”
Police are now looking at CCTV footage of the incidents.