Romanians return to Belfast


A number of Romanians who fled Belfast in the wake of racist attacks have returned to Northern Ireland, it was revealed tonight.

About a dozen men have arrived back in the city, with plans for their families to follow afterwards.

More than 100 people from the Roma community flew back to Romania in June after racists targeted their homes in south Belfast. They were forced to seek refuge in a church and a leisure centre before the government put them up in emergency accommodation.

The Stormont Executive then paid to fly back to Eastern Europe those families who felt too frightened to remain in Northern Ireland. Six weeks later, some of the evacuees decided to come back.

Belfast Lord Mayor Naomi Long said their decision was “a vote of confidence" in the city.

“This is a very positive development,” said the Alliance Party councillor. “The incident portrayed Belfast in a very negative light but I think the response of the people of Belfast in the aftermath showed a very different side to the city and gave the Roma families a lot of hope and confidence to return.”