Belfast Telegraph

Victim of homophobia takes comfort in Nichola Mallon's support

By Joanne Sweeney

A grief-stricken gay man who was targeted in a relentless homophobic hate campaign has received the support of the city's first citizen.

Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon invited Paul Finlay-Dickson (43) to tea at City Hall yesterday and has promised to use the influence of herself and the council to help him move on with his life.

The SDLP councillor decided to contact Paul after learning of his plight in the Belfast Telegraph.

She said: "No citizen - whatever their gender, sexual orientation, colour or creed - should feel vulnerable or afraid within our community.

"We need to stand together and with Paul".

Although Mr Dickson, who lost his husband Maurice to cancer just six weeks ago, had vowed not to quit their home in north Belfast, he now hopes to be rehoused within weeks.

He revealed yesterday that after being taunted by youths outside his home last Sunday night, he had contemplated taking his own life.

Mr Finlay-Dickson said that he and Maurice (41), were subjected to 21 incidents at their home over an 18-month period which did not ease during his husband's 11-month battle with cancer. Mr Finlay-Dickson is HIV positive as was Maurice.

The incidents include youths putting excrement through his letter box and his husband receiving a threatening sympathy card.

"The other politicians who I asked for help clearly haven't done what they promised so for the Lord Mayor, being from a different community to me, to offer an olive branch to me, that moves mountains and speaks volumes," he said.

Mr Finlay-Dickson added that the support of his brother Philip, close friends and his husband's family has helped sustain him during his trouble, particularly since Maurice died.

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