Northern Ireland news

Police investigate intimidating posters in south Belfast

Police are investigating the posters which appeared in south Belfast

POLICE are investigating intimidating posters making false allegations about a Belfast health trust worker which appeared in south Belfast.

The posters, which were put up on the lower Ormeau Road, are being linked to ongoing police inquiries following separate claims of exploitation of vulnerable members of the Romanian community.

Last week The Irish News reported that police had visited members of the Roma community to ask if they needed help following online allegations involving the Romanian Roma Community Association of North Ireland (RRCANI).

The Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group last year received £74,000 through the Minority Ethnic Development Fund to support the Roma association, but it emerged in April it was unsuccessful in securing another year of funding.

And in June the Belfast trust moved early years services for the Roma community from RRCANI to another location.

The Irish News understands that since police visited members of the Roma community, a number of people have been warned not to speak to the PSNI.

Posters, naming and making false allegations about a Belfast health trust worker and another person who previously worked closely with members of the Roma community, later appeared on walls in south Belfast.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Reid said police "received a report of a number of posters having been erected in public areas in the south Belfast area".

"Police enquiries are ongoing," he said. "There are no further details at this stage."

A spokesperson for the Belfast trust said: "We are aware of this serious issue and are working with the relevant authorities, including the PSNI, as they make enquiries into this matter. We are supporting our member of staff at this time."

South Belfast Green Party MLA Clare Bailey said after being alerted to the intimidation she personally went to the area and removed posters.

"I am in contact with those being targeted and I want to reassure everyone from the Roma community that I am here to help," she said.

"I want them to know that they can contact me in confidence and without prejudice. As their elected representative my door is always open."

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