Rise in intimidations in North

 

The number of people intimidated from their homes in Northern Ireland is on the rise, it was revealed today.

Sectarian tensions are partly to blame for families being forced to flee some of the toughest housing estates across the country.

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie vowed to tackle the problem and is holding a series of meetings to hear public views. An initiative by her department is expected after consultation is complete.

An official close to Ms Ritchie said the scheme for resettling those at risk needed to be reformed.

“We facilitate further segregation and intimidation, we actually invest in it, that has got to change,” he added.

This year since April there have been 65 applications received for emergency housing after people were intimidated from their homes. This compares to 100 for the whole of the last financial year and 60 in 2007/08.

Northern Ireland’s former police chief Sir Hugh Orde said last week Stormont was not doing enough to address the causes of the conflict.

He said while his officers remained determined to face off the threat posed by dissident republicans, the authorities had to do more to address the underlying causes of conflict and tension in the region.

PA