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North Belfast Filipino family appeal for end to hate campaign

By Brett Campbell

Published 17/11/2016

Cleo Enriquez at her home
Cleo Enriquez at her home
Damage to the door from latest attack

A Filipino family have pleaded for attacks on their north Belfast home to stop, saying they fear the situation could escalate.

Memet and Cleo Enriquez have lived in the city for 14 largely peaceful years, 11 of which have been at their current address at Brae Hill Link in Ballysillan.

But their home has been attacked seven times in the last four weeks.

In the latest incident on Tuesday night stones were thrown at the property, smashing the glass panel of their double-glazed front door.

Cleo, who works as a biomedical scientist in the labs of Belfast City Hospital, said she feared the attacks are racially motivated.

"I'm really trying to believe it's not a racist attack, but we are being targeted more and more, and I'm not aware it is happening to other people," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"My husband believes we are being targeted because we are different. I have never felt that has been an issue before."

The couple, who have two children, initially thought little of the attacks.

Cleo (39) said: "We didn't contact the police at the start because we thought it's only young kids being silly, but now we are fearful.

"It's gone too far and it needs to stop. After Tuesday night we have decided it's too much. Our main worry is that this will escalate into something bigger."

The couple say their two children, aged 15 and 8, have been left scared.

Cleo has kept a list of the attacks, which started on October 19. Since then they have had eggs, stones and fireworks thrown at the house.

She explained: "Last night there were five kids, on Sunday it was three, but on Halloween there were around 15 of them. That night they stole my daughter's pumpkin from the front door and threw fireworks at the house."

Memet, who works as a nurse at the Mater Hospital, installed CCTV after snowballs and stones were thrown at their home last year. The family want an end to the intimidation.

Cleo added: "We are a really big asset to the (Belfast) Trust and I'm not just saying that, you know.

"We leave in the morning and go to work, we come home late. Our kids play a lot of sport and are always out of the house.

"We aren't noisy neighbours, even at weekends we work.

"My brother from back home is ill at the moment so we have enough stress and worry. We just want to be able to relax."

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