Belfast Telegraph

Roma group no longer allowed to use Belfast church after exploitation claims

A south Belfast church will no longer allow a Roma group to use its facilities after claims of exploitation and criminality within the community.

Police confirmed they were investigating the issue after the BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show broadcast claims about the exploitation of Roma people in the south Belfast area.

The Leadership Team at City Church on University Avenue said that the decision had been taken because one of the leaders of the Roma Church had used the platform to encourage intimidation.

"The decision was taken on Monday night by the Leadership team of City Church Belfast - that this Sunday December 9 will be the Roma Church's last Sunday in our building," a statement read.

"The main reason being that one of their church leaders used the church platform to encourage intimidation within their own community."

Roma community leaders deny all allegations made against them.

Speaking earlier this week PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Gary Reid confirmed that police were investigating reports of exploitation and criminality within the Roma community.

 “In early August 2018, Criminal Investigations Branch in Belfast commenced an investigation into exploitation and criminality affecting the Roma community.

“The investigation was instigated by the contents of a number of social media posts and a number of posters which were erected in public areas in south Belfast in August. This investigation is ongoing and is being conducted in partnership with a number of agencies.

“We would thank the individuals who have come forward so far and we would appeal to anyone in the community who has concerns about this issue to speak to police by contacting us on the non-emergency number 101.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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