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From our correspondent in London

Residents who defended the Gypsies in Belfast are threatened by the racists

de Crina Boros     HotNews.ro
Vineri, 19 iunie 2009, 15:32 English | Top News

One of the Northern-Irish who defended the Romanian Romas during the violence in South Belfast received a firebomb threat. He said that this was the right time to defeat the racist gangs, while they still count just a few members. The British mass-media continues the debate on the racism in Ulster. Romanian authorities in Belfast are preparing to repatriate most of the abused Romas.

Paddy Meehan was announced by the Northern-Irish Police (PSNI) that his home is under firebomb threat, Belfast Telegraph informs. The police link the bomb warning to the violent events from the last ten days.

The racists have to be defeated while they're still in small groups

Patrick Meehan, campaigner who helped organising the anti-racist protest and also took shifts to guard the homes of the Romanian Romas in South Belfast, didn’t sleep at his place last night.

"I’m not intending on leaving the area, I want to make that very plain. My message to these people is that they are isolated, they have nothing to offer the people of the area. They have just shown their cowardly actions by targeting a very vulnerable section of people and now they have tried to go after the people who have tried to defend them. It is important that local communities are mobilised to defeat these groups now while they are small and that is exactly what I and other local residents are now determined to do.", he told Belfast Telegraph.

He has spoken with the Romanian families after they have been relocated and assured them he will take any measures for them to be safe.

PSNI was accused that it took too much time to respond to the attacks. Ulster Police Board contradicted the accusations, by saying that the police acted professionally, according to the protocol.

The latest attacks against the Romanian ethnic minority from Belfast continued to make the headlines. National Children’s Bureau representatives told Belfast Telegraph that the recent racist outbursts indicate a certain level of racism in Northern Ireland. NGO head Celine McStravick expressed her concerned for several other Romanian families who left their homes in the aftermath.

"Will the Irish migrants go back?"

BBC journalists debated the issue in last night's news analysis. One of them said that the migrant population in Ulster represents only 1%, a figure attained mostly during recent years, after more countries joined the EU. The racism reached a sectarianism level, it was concluded. Another BBC analyst said that people from Ireland emigrated all over the world. "Would they go back?" he asked rhetorically and ironically.  

BBC Northern-Irish presenter Joe Lindsay declared that he was "appalled at the actions of a minority of small-minded bigots, unwilling to see this country progress beyond headlines and violence". He said that it was important that this case remains isolated and that the Ulster migrants felt welcomed. "I personally want to live in a multi-cultural society and enjoy being exposed to what other nationalities and cultures can bring to this country", Lindsay added.

Most of the abused Gypsies will be repatriated

Romanian officials met the ones in Northern Ireland yesterday. The discussions for finding the right solutions continue today as well. According to Belfast Telegraph, Martin McGuinness condemn the violence, calling them "disgraceful, deplorable, will make the whole of our community angry and do not |represent or reflect the nature of the friendly and welcoming community that we have here in Northern Ireland".

In his first visit to Belfast, Romanian Ambassador Ion Jinga reiterated his wish that the local authorities would take all necessary measures to prevent similar situations to occur. Romanian general consul in London Mihai Delcea said the Romanian Roma families were "a little bit stressed" because of the displacement, but appreciated the care they received. Several Roma families expressed their wish to remain in Ulster, but most of the abused Gypsies asked to be repatriated.  























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