Northern Ireland news

`Where are you children?' PSNI ask Portadown parents after `hate crime' attack on Portuguese family

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Sinn Féin mayor Paul Duffy said those responsibly were aged around 13-14

A MOTHER and child fled to safety in a neighbours house after their Co Armagh home was targeted by teenagers in what police have branded a "hate crime".

Police say the attack on the Portuguese family in Ballyoran Park in Portadown on Wednesday, while the father was at work was "simply because of their race and nationality".

In an open letter to "Parents of Portadown" on PSNI Craigavon's Facebook page, they asked: "Where were your kids last night?", going on to say "a large number of youths... (had caused) significant amounts of harm".

"These youths have taken it upon themselves to target a resident of your community in an attack on their home, a family who have done nothing to warrant any type of trouble, targeted simply because of their race and nationality.

"This is a crime motivated by hate and as such we, as a police force, take this matter incredibly seriously.

"We want answers. This is completely unacceptable for anyone in our community to behave in this appalling manner, a gang of people targeting a family simply because they are different.

"It's time to stop."

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon mayor Paul Duffy said those responsibly were aged around 13-14.

"The children were all from that end of Portadown and it's a disgrace," he said.

"They have very good supportive neighbours around there who would do anything for them."

A spokesperson from the Ballyoran Resident Association said the area has been "prolific for anti-social behaviour".

"I honestly don't know how we're going to move forward again. We have been meeting all the agencies," he said.

"Maybe if they met the people who are closing their curtains and turning off their lights and pretending to be out and hear how they are affected and ask themselves, `Would I like it to be my `nanny' or my mother?'"

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