Northern Ireland

Stormont leaders 'must tackle Polish attacks'

Windows in two of the houses in Mountcollyer Avenue were smashed with bricks
Image caption There have been three attacks on the homes of Polish people at Mountcollyer Avenue in recent days

Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers must take action to stop attacks on the Polish community, one of its representatives has said.

Jerome Mullen, who is NI Honorary Polish Consul, said leadership "must come from the top to have this stamped out once and for all".

He was speaking after a spate of attacks on the homes of Polish people in north Belfast.

"It's quite shocking what's happening," he said.

"Clearly there is a lawless disaffected group of young people wandering around this particular area taking their vengeance out on this community.

"The police have only made one arrest - that clearly is because they haven't got sufficient information to identify the people perpetrating these crimes.

"Why is this information not coming forward?"

Mr Mullen called for politicians in north Belfast to "step up and condemn what is happening to this community and offering whatever support they can provide".

'Inflicting misery'

The DUP's Nigel Dodds said on Sunday: "Those responsible for these attacks are causing great harm to the local community as well as inflicting misery on the occupants of these properties.

"Anyone who can assist the police investigation into these crimes should bring that information forward without delay."

On Friday, Sinn Féin deputy first minister Martin McGuinness called for a "zero tolerance approach to racism and hate crimes".

"Our entire society needs to demonstrate that we are not prepared to tolerate hate crime of any form," he said.

There have been three incidents in recent days on the same street, Mountcollyer Avenue in Tiger's Bay.

Last Monday, a group of men attacked two houses and threatened residents at the street in what police described as a racially motivated hate crime.

Windows in two of the houses were smashed with bricks and one man was reported to have been carrying a pick axe.

On Friday, the front window of a Polish man's house was smashed.

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