Church attacked after sheltering Romanians

By staff writers
June 23, 2009

A church in Northern Ireland, which offered sanctuary to more than 100 Romanians after they fled their homes amid racist attacks, was targeted last night.

The windows of City Church in University Street, south Belfast, were smashed by stone-throwers and the front door was damaged.

Twenty-five of the Romanians have now left the country and another 75 are planning to return home, Stormont minister Margaret Ritchie disclosed today.

Pastor Malcolm Morgan discovered that the church had been attacked when he arrived this morning.

"I arrived at 7.00am and found several windows smashed at the front of our church and the main door windows smashed.”

“Stones were lying scattered on the floor inside and outside, and ... broken glass was everywhere.”

Past Morgan said he wasn't sure if the attack was linked to the controversy surrounding the Romanian families.

But even if it was retaliation, he said, he had no regrets about putting the families up for the night.

"It would be easy to conclude that it was someone who did not like our work with the Romanians, but that is only guesswork.
"If it is, I think that is very sad. We had nothing but positive comments all last week - so many emails and local folk thanking us - so it was quite a surprise this morning," he said.

The Romanians - 115 people, including 49 children - spent a night in the church hall before being found temporary accommodation in student homes left empty for the summer holidays.

Keywords:romanian | racism
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