Belfast Telegraph

Shocked Belfast mum says racist jibe at toddler in pram was disgusting

By Staff Reporter

A west Belfast woman whose toddler was subjected to a vile racist slur by a female stranger spoke of her shock yesterday.

The mother, known only by her first name Lisa, recalled the distressing moment her 18-month-old boy Ryan was verbally abused on the Falls Road on Monday afternoon.

According to the Ballymurphy woman, the pair were near Milltown Cemetery when a woman approached them and leaned down into Ryan's pram and shouted the 'n-word' into her son's face.

"It has just been shocking," she told the BBC Talkback programme yesterday.

"I thought she was a passer-by and screamed all over the road the n-word.

"I said to her 'excuse me'. She continued to walk on and I was expecting a confrontation.

"I put the brake on the pram and followed her up the road a bit but returned to the child. I wanted to challenge her."

The incident is now being investigated as a race hate crime by the PSNI.

Officers have appealed for information regarding the whereabouts of the stranger, who is described as being 5ft 7in tall, with shoulder-length auburn hair and wearing a blue or purple long skirt or maxi dress.

Lisa, who revealed that she is in a mixed-race marriage, went on to reveal that she has six children and all of them bar one had experienced racial abuse of varying degrees.

"What I'm afraid of is people become victims and it becomes normal and they become numb to the fact. It isn't acceptable. It's immoral and it's a criminal offence. It's child abuse," she explained.

"It makes it more disgusting that it's happened to a child but it is disgusting at any age.

"I grew up and have lived all my life in west Belfast and it's a brilliant community. I get lots of compliments about the kids, but you do have a bigoted element. People think racism doesn't exist but it does."

She revealed her family had previously been forced to leave their home due to racist abuse.

"We sold the house at a loss and moved to Ballymurphy which is a brilliant place, brilliant people and a very supportive community," added Lisa.

Meanwhile, People Before Profit West Belfast MLA Gerry Carroll claimed the increased presence of far-right groups like Generation Identity in Belfast had contributed to a rise in racist incidents.

Anyone with any information can contact the PSNI via 101.

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