herald

Friday 18 August 2017

Roma families flee home as mob of 200 kick in front door

Locals gather at the scene after the attack on the house in Waterford.
Locals gather at the scene after the attack on the house in Waterford.

THREE families had to be evacuated from a house in Waterford after protesters descended on their home and kicked in a door and all of the downstairs windows.

More than 200 protesters gathered at Manor Street in the city at 5pm on Saturday after an organised rally turned ugly.

The demonstrators targeted a group of 30 people from the local Roma community, who were being blamed for a series of alleged crimes in the area.

A number of toddlers and grandmothers were among the group who were evacuated from the house.

One man in his 20s was arrested in connection with the incident but was later released without charge.

The crowds only dispersed after 9pm, long after gardai and the Garda Armed Response Unit had arrived on the scene.

Local Sinn Fein Councillor John Hearne said he was disgusted with the incident.

"It is everything you don't want to see in the city," he said.

"The whole thing was organised on Facebook and if you can't control people, you can't bring them on to the streets.

"I was in Dublin during the drug protests in the eighties and this was far worse than that," he added.

The family were brought to a safe location by gardai and their current whereabouts is not being disclosed.

serious

Mr Hearne added that Waterford is "clearly in need of more gardai" after a number of serious incidents in the city, though he said officers are "doing the job the best they can".

Only 10 gardai were available to attend Saturday's incident before reinforcements from the ARU were called for.

Yesterday, the Immigrant Council of Ireland labelled the attack as "horrific".

Threats were still being made against the families on social media last night, with one user saying that they should be put on a boat and burned, while another suggested using a petrol bomb.

hnews@herald.ie

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