Romas made to leave house in Belfast

Twenty-one Romas, including children and infants, have been taken into emergency accommodation after being evicted from a house in south Belfast.

The three families were asked to leave by their landlord.

Some of the residents in the house had only recently returned to Northern Ireland after being targeted in a series of racist attacks in June.

It is thought rental payments and the landlord’s concerns about safety in the dwelling were the main issues disputed.

They had initially refused to leave, saying that they had nowhere else to go, but social services organised for them to stay in hostels.

The landlord had arranged for the electricity to be turned off on Tuesday afternoon.

BBC reporter Ciaran Tracey said bare cables, sewage and damp problems were clearly visible inside the house.

Bernie Kelly, from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, said: “All we know is that it was unsafe, there’s electricity issues and it just wasn’t safe, we weren’t happy with them staying there so they’ve moved, they’ve moved peacefully.

“We are meeting in the morning and we are going to look at longer term plans for them.”

One Romanian man said they had not been put off coming to Northern Ireland by the attacks in June.

“We heard about them on Romanian television but we’re still not afraid and that’s why I brought my family here, it’s a better way of living,” he said.

“We know of the racist attacks. So far things are good, nothing’s happened to us.

“When we arrived here, we arrived with the intention of settling down. We arrived here for our children, for our family.

“The life and the poverty in Romania is so bad, you cannot imagine, that’s why we are here.”