I won't leave, vows Polish man as cars burnt in hate attack
A Polish man whose father's car was burnt out in what police are treating as a racist attack has said he will not be leaving his home.
Artur Siemienczuk of Dunclug Gardens, Ballymena, was speaking after two cars were burnt out in the Dunclug estate at the weekend. Police said that they were treating the attacks as racist and the incidents were condemned by the First and Deputy First Ministers.
Artur has lived in Dunclug for five years and when asked what he thought the motive was for the attack on his father Juzef's car at Dunclug Gardens, he said: "I don't know, probably the kids just burn the car."
Pressed as to his thoughts on a racist motive, the 37-year-old added: "Probably not, maybe, I don't know." He said he will continue to live in Dunclug, where there are a number of Polish families, and that the attack has not made him afraid.
Police said one car was alight in Dunclug Gardens at around 3.30am and the second in Dunclug Park shortly before 5am.
As police patrolled the estate yesterday, a local woman claimed that the car targeted in Dunclug Gardens was one of a number of vehicles parked around the estate with 'For Sale' notices attached. She said the vehicle had been parked near the entrance to the estate for months.
She said: "I slept through it all and apparently my car had to be hosed down by the Fire Brigade.
"I don't know if this is a hate crime or not. Whatever the reason, it is ridiculous that it happened. To me, it is a lot of hoodlums."
The First and Deputy First Ministers have called on communities to unite against racism.
In a joint statement, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness condemned the incidents and urged people to consider how families with relatives overseas would feel if they were victims of racism.
"The attack on a house last week and arson attacks on two cars in Ballymena over the weekend are simply not acceptable," the Stormont leaders said.
"Thankfully, no one was injured in these attacks, but the entire community must unite and reject this behaviour which exudes intolerance, ignorance and zero respect for humanity.
"We urge anyone with any information relating to these attacks to bring it to the PSNI.Many families have sons, daughters or close family members dotted around the globe and they must consider how they would feel if they were being attacked or singled out because of their race, colour or nationality.
"We must make every effort to create the conditions where we are welcoming and everyone feels part of the community."
Detectives have said that they are treating the latest attacks in Ballymena as hate crimes and have appealed for information on 101.