Northern Ireland news

Boy (15) called 'fenian bastard' and kicked and punched in sectarian attack

Police are investigating two sectarian attacks in north Belfast

THE mother of a 15-year-old boy has told of her terror after he was kicked and punched during a sectarian assault as he walked home in north Belfast.

The attackers threatened to stab the schoolboy before using a knuckle duster when he was set upon on Crumlin Road.

His mother told The Irish News there is "so much hatred going on" and a child "could have ended up dead".

It was one of two sectarian attacks by two males on bikes in north Belfast on Saturday night.

In the first, a 15-year-old was verbally abused before being beaten with metal bars on Oldpark Road.

Around 15 minutes later, the attackers targeted another 15-year-old as he walked towards Ardoyne.

His mother, who did not to be named, said he had been at Yorkgate when he and a friend missed a bus home and decided to walk.

"They got near Russells on the Crumlin Road and noticed these two fellas on bikes who kept staring at them.

"The fellas starting circling them and intimidating them, they were shouting 'fenian b******s'.

"He said they were about 15 to 17. His wee friend and him tried to ignore them and walked on, but they weren't giving up.

"They decided they had to try and get away and started to run. He was a bit behind his friend and the fellas cornered him with their bikes.

"They told him, 'Don't move or we'll stab you'.

SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said it was 'very worrying'

"He said one of them put his hand into his pocket and he saw a long handle, he freaked out and tried to get away.

"One of them had a knuckle duster on his hand and they were kicking and punching him."

She said her son escaped, but suffered injuries to his head and face.

"I feel sick to my stomach about what could have happened. Imagine if they brought out a knife - he's very lucky."

The terrified mother added: "It breaks my heart the hatred in the world. It doesn't matter what you are, Catholic or Protestant. I know this happens on both sides, but if this sectarianism doesn't stop, something terrible is going to happen."

SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said: "This is very worrying that these two young people have been targeted in this hate crime particularly when there are weapons being produced.

"We have seen an increase across north Belfast of attacks and organised fights putting lots of young people at serious risk.

"Both communities have been working hard to put a stop to it and I would appeal again to all young people to not get involved in this behaviour as there is serious consequences and parents please speak with your children to make them aware of the dangers."

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