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Antrim mum's disgust at son's role in vile racist abuse hurled at woman

By Claire Williamson

Published 04/10/2016

Northern Ireland schoolboys throw stones and abuse at Romanian woman.
Northern Ireland schoolboys throw stones and abuse at Romanian woman.
Northern Ireland schoolboys throw stones and abuse at Romanian woman.
A still from the online video of a Romanian woman being attacked by schoolchildren

The mother of a boy seen shouting racial abuse at a Romanian woman and calling her a "suicide bomber" has said she is disgusted and angry at her son's sickening behaviour.

In an online video that has been viewed more than 400,000 times, three youths hurl abuse and throw stones at the defenceless woman in Antrim town.

The video begins with the woman asking why they are not respecting her.

She bravely stands her ground during the ordeal.

One of the boys say: "You're not a girl. You're an immigrant. You shouldn't be in this country.

"Do you have a visa to say here?"

Another says: "Do you have a passport? Come on and show me it."

One of the boys then appears to mock the woman's accent.

They ask her where she is from and when she replies Romania, someone close to the camera says: "Suicide bomber." Another says: "We don't like Romanians."

The youths were quickly identified through social media by outraged locals.

On Facebook, the mother of one of the boys said: "I can assure you that he will be dealt with by the police and ourselves... we are just as disgusted and angry as everyone else!

"I can only apologise so many times for his behaviour."

She also said she wanted to speak to the abuse victim and apologise in person for her son's behaviour.

Police have launched an investigation. Chief Inspector Arthur Davidson said: "At this stage we have identified the three boys involved and arrangements will be made to speak to them formally over the next few days. We are also working to identify the victim, in order to ensure she is offered every support as we move forward with our investigation."

Patrick Yu, executive director of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, said: "This behaviour is not acceptable in our society.

"We call upon all local communities in NI to report all racist incidents to PSNI."

And Jolena Flett, manager of the Migrant Centre Northern Ireland, said: "We all need to take responsibility for creating a more positive and constructive dialogue. Verbal abuse incidents are the most under-reported because victims often do not believe anything can or will be done.

"It is important to take notice of these incidents and create an environment where victims or witnesses are confident to report them."

Alliance Antrim councillor Neil Kelly expressed his shock at the video.

He said: "This is not reflective of the vast majority of people in Antrim, who are welcoming and friendly to all. I have been inundated with people voicing their concern in relation to it and wishing to express their best wishes to the victim.

"I hope she is OK after this incident and does not judge everybody in this town by the disgraceful actions of a few.

"There can never be an excuse for racism - it has absolutely no place in our society and blatant intimidation such as this video appears to show needs to be stamped out.

"I have reported this video to the PSNI, who have confirmed they are investigating, and would urge anyone else with information to also provide it to police."

South Antrim MLA Steve Aiken said there was absolutely no place for behaviour of this nature in modern society.

"It is quite frankly vile and deeply disappointing," he said.

"We want Antrim to be an inclusive, welcoming town; a town that prides itself on how people from all backgrounds are made to feel at home here.

"I am heartened by the backlash on social media of people in Antrim and Newtownabbey condemning this behaviour. Thankfully it does not reflect the town as we all know it.

"The three boys involved will no doubt be ashamed of their actions, as they become an example to their peers of how not to behave.

"The boys responsible have not only abused this woman most disgracefully, they have brought shame on their community and town in the process."

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