West Belfast Ulster Unionist spokesperson Gareth Martin has condemned the latest attack on the Suffolk estate and called for Police to take a more pro-active approach to preventing incursion into the area by groups of youths seeking to whip up tensions and provoke a reaction.
Mr Martin said;
“Wednesday night saw a further incursion into the Suffolk estate when a group of youths entered from the Blacks Road area and chanted IRA slogans and sang republican songs.
“I have been informed by local people that Police were in the vicinity elsewhere on the Blacks Road but when asked about intervention said they hadn't seen anything. The fact that the Police were more interested in ascertaining the names of those making the complaint combined with their lack of response the previous evening means that confidence in the Police from the Suffolk community is at a worryingly low level.
“These attacks are hate crimes. They are no different to the disgraceful attacks which have taken place against other members of the community, whether Eastern European, Chinese, African or members of the LGBT community. All such attacks are fuelled by blind ignorance and hatred towards those from a different background and they must be stamped out.
“I have contacted the Ulster Unionist policing Board member Ross Hussey MLA and I will be meeting with the PSNI’s local area command team. In the meantime I would urge residents to report all incidents to the police and to obtain a log number which they should retain so that we can build up an accurate picture of the frequency and nature of these incidents.
“In the past it was the case that incidents in Suffolk often went unreported and there is a belief that nobody cares. As someone who grew up there and with family still living in the area, I know what it's like and I for one do care and want to play my part in improving the daily lives of the people who simply want to live there free from attack or the fear of attack.”