Syrian family home attacked in Newry in hate crime

There has been widespread condemnation after a Syrian family's home was attacked in Newry in what police are treating as a hate crime.

It happened in the Carlingford Park area of the city in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The family had their windows broken and graffiti sprayed over the house.

Speaking about the incident, Chief Inspector Amanda Ford said: “It was reported at 9.30am (Sunday 18 April) that sometime around 2.00am this morning that graffiti had been sprayed and a number of windows were damaged at the property. “Enquiries are continuing and at this stage, the incident is being treated as a hate crime. This type of violent crime is unacceptable in our communities, hate crimes have no place in today’s society and will simply not be tolerated."

Local SDLP MLA Justin McNulty said he understands the family have now fled their home following what he called the "traumatising ordeal."

"Newry is an incredibly diverse and vibrant city and for any individual or family to be targeted simply because of their ethnicity or nationality is vile and wrong," Mr McNulty said.

The family had their windows smashed in during the attack. Credit: Justin McNulty MLA

Newry City Sinn Féin Councillor Valerie Harte has said that there is anger and disgust within the local community at the news. "I am both disgusted and saddened to learn of this attack on this family who have just recently moved into the area. This was a cowardly attack carried out under the cover of darkness.

There is anger and disgust throughout the local community. This hate attack must be condemned unequivocally, there is no room for racism in our society.

Cllr Valerie Harte

Alliance Newry and Armagh representative Jackie Coade also hit out at those behind the attack: “This sort of behaviour does not represent the vast majority of people in Newry. Racism has no place in our society, and the attitudes and actions of those who did this mindless attack must be condemned by everyone. “Everyone has the right to feel safe in their home and as a community we must stand together. I would urge anyone with information on this incident to contact police with it immediately.”

Racist graffiti also appeared in the Jonesborough area of Co. Armagh with references being made to 'White Lives Matter' and 'Time for War' according to local Sinn Fein Councillor Mickey Larkin.

Slieve Gullion Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Larkin has condemned graffiti that appeared over-night on two approach roads to Jonesborough village. "Residents of the village are disgusted by these vile racist slogans. They don't represent the opinion of those who live in the village," Cllr Larkin said.

In a separate incident, graves in a Jewish graveyard in Belfast City Cemetery were damaged last week. North Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey condemned the attack saying he was "disgusted and appalled:"

"Those behind this appalling anti-Semitic attack are evil. A graveyard is a sacred place and should be respected as such. Those responsible are guilty of a most heinous hate crime," he said. Bishop Noel Treanor called the attack a "senseless act of vandalism."

"They display a total lack of respect for the dead and the families of the deceased who are left distressed by these incidents.

The targeting of these Jewish graves is particularly distressing for the wider Jewish community in Belfast.

Bishop Noel Treanor

"Such anti-semitic and discriminatory actions, motivated by prejudice, have no place in a modern tolerant welcoming society."