Belfast: Romanians Leave After Racist Attacks

07/24/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • The Huffington Post

Almost 100 Romanians are fleeing Belfast as violence targeting the migrant community continues, it was reported today by the Irish Times.

Last week saw authorities offering temporary accommodation for those caught up in the violence.

Northern Ireland's Minister for Social Development Margaret Ritchie has reported that 25 Romanians have already left Belfast, while another 75 are planning to leave.

Air fares for those who are returning to Romania are reportedly being paid out of an emergency fund.

Irish President Mary McAleese described the attacks as 'sickening' to state broadcaster RTE.

'It's very distressing what's happening there and to realize as I did, having gone through the same thing, I know how sickening it is, how very vulnerable you feel, how you need friends, and how you need support,' said President McAleese.

The Irish Times reports that a church which offered sanctuary to the Romanians who fled their homes was itself attacked and had several windows smashed.

The pastor said he did not regret what he had done for the Romanian community, telling the Irish Times that he would repeat his offer again tomorrow.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland are continuing their investigations into the attacks and have appealed for information on the church attack.

RTE reports that one 21-year-old man has appeared in court in connection with disturbances earlier this month in the south of the city which saw migrants flee their homes.

According to RTE, a number of other youths have been helping police with their inquiries.