24 Jun 2009

Romanians leaving Northern Ireland after threats

9:11 am on 24 June 2009

One hundred Romanians who fled their homes in Belfast after a spate of recent attacks have decided to leave Northern Ireland and return to Romania.

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie said 25 people had already left and 75 were going to leave as soon as they could, 14 will stay in Northern Ireland.

The Housing Executive is paying for the families, members of the Roma ethnic group, to return to Romania using emergency funds.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities said it was likely the remaining families would leave before the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a man has been remanded in custody by the Belfast Magistrates Court charged with intimidating Romanian people in Belfast.

Bail was refused for Shane Murphy, 21, because the judge said there was a danger he could interfere with witnesses.

On Monday, a boy, aged 15, appeared in court charged in connection with the same incidents. Another boy, 16, appeared alongside him accused of provocative behaviour at an anti-racism rally.