Immigrants abandon ‘racist statelet’
Immigrants abandon ‘racist statelet’

Intolerance is growing in the Six Counties, with a new survey showing the isolated statelet increasingly turning inward.

The North’s population is becoming more prejudiced against people of different races and sexual orientations as well as against members of the traveller community.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland published the survey this week as it joined in condemning the loyalist racist attacks that persuaded 100 Romanians to flee the north of Ireland.

Almost all of the Romanians who abandoned their homes in south Belfast after the police failed to protect them have decided to return home.

Twenty-five have already left, while a further 68 are to be flown home later today.

The North’s Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie last week revealed that air fares were being paid out of an emergency fund and that there had been attempts to encourage the immigrants to stay.

Just 17 of those who were forced to seek sanctuary in a church hall last week have decided to stay.

That church came under stone and missile attack this week in an act of reprisal by the bigots who are now extending their campaign.

A Polish family were forced to leave their home after a series of attacks in Moygashel, County Tyrone. Windows in three houses were broken and a car was vandalised over the weekend.

The family, which included a four-year-old boy, decided to leave because of a threatening note warning the targeted foreign families that they must leave the area.

Meanwhile, a separate message by ‘Loyalist Combat 18’, named after Adolf Hitler, is being distributed by mobile phone and emails.

It read:

“Romanian gypsies beware beware
“Loyalist C18 are coming to beat you like a baiting bear
“Stay out of South Belfast and stay out of sight
“And then youse will be alright
“Get the boat and don’t come back
“There is no black in the Union Jack
“Loyalist C18 ‘whatever it takes’.”

The threats appear to be genuine. In a sinister twist, two pipe bombs, apparently intended for use against the immigrants, were uncovered this week in south Belfast, along with a quantity of ammunition.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called for cross-party support for a new future, with united opposition to sectarianism and racism.

He said sectarianism had kept Catholic and Protestant communities apart in the past and it was time for politicians to embrace a shared future.

“The truth is if the new political dispensation is to deliver for everyone then it will do so because all political parties have entered into the spirit as well as the letter of power-sharing,” he said.

“Any suggestion that the compulsory nature of the power-sharing arrangements can be changed is dishonest and misleading.

“Those who argue for this position know that it is unattainable.

“All politicians have a duty to set their faces against sectarianism.

“The recent spate of shameful racist attacks shows another unacceptable aspect of our society.

“Racism and sectarianism are two sides of the one coin.

“If there is any tolerance for sectarianism, and in my view there is, it is little wonder that racism thrives.

“It also needs to be confronted.”

And he said unionists who hope for a return to majority rule in the North of Ireland are living in fantasy land.

His comments come after the hard-line Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) secured 13.7 per cent voter support in the European election after campaigning against power-sharing with republicans.

TUV leader Jim Allister opposed what he described as the mandatory coalition system in place at Stormont.

While DUP leader Peter Robinson has said he would prefer an alternative system, he accepted none was available.

In a strongly worded attack on hard-line unionism Mr Adams said his party would block any attempt to dismantle power-sharing.

“The Northern Ireland state is a sectarian state,” he said.

“It was established on this basis and it remains sectarian at its core.

“Because this is a sectarian state and because unionism could not be trusted to govern fairly, the outcomes of the Good Friday Agreement and the St Andrews Agreement are all-Ireland in nature particularly in their institutions,” the Sinn Féin president said.

“There are also many equality and other legal safeguards built into the new political dispensation.

“These include compulsory power-sharing and partnership political arrangements.

“Thinking-unionism knows that this will be the case for as long as the new dispensation lasts and fair minded unionist MLAs have slowly but surely come to terms with this reality.”

He added: “Others, inside and outside the Northern assembly toy with the idea that the system of governance can be changed.

“I cannot believe that they are serious, but if they are, they are living in fantasy land.”

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