Northern Ireland

Residents concern over ‘unacceptable’ anti-immigration posters in south Belfast

Posters targeting ‘undesirables and immigrants’ in Finaghy area first appeared last month

One of the anti-immigration signs in Finaghy which police are treating as a hate crime. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN
One of the anti-immigration signs in Finaghy which police are treating as a hate crime. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN

Anti-immigration signs erected in south Belfast have left some residents fearful as police work to remove them from lampposts.

The signs appeared in the Finaghy area last month, and police said they are treating them as a hate crime.

Demanding the attention of landlords, housing associations and the NI Housing Executive, the signs state “we have had enough of undesirables and immigrants in our community. The time has come for locals only”

They add: “We will protect our families at all costs. This we promise.”

The BBC reported on Tuesday that Finaghy resident Takura Donald Makoni, of the African & Caribbean Support Organisation in Northern Ireland, last week reported a sign placed outside his home to police, saying he felt afraid to go outside.

“I’ve lived in Finaghy for three years now and I feel very welcome, I have made friends with neighbours,” he said, adding he had concerns over removing the sign himself.

A Housing Executive spokesperson said: “We work proactively to promote inclusivity and diversity in our homes and estates and that is why it is particularly disappointing when incidents of this nature occur.

“All our housing allocations will continue to be carried out in line with the rules of the common housing selection scheme.”

PSNI Superintendent Finola Dornan said the posters were “offensive and unacceptable”, and said police patrols in the area had increased to “provide necessary reassurance”.

“Hate has a far-reaching and damaging impact on the whole community,” she said.

“We are committed to doing everything possible to prevent incidents, support victims and pursue perpetrators.

“South Belfast Neighbourhood Policing Team has been working together across the local community and with partner agencies to secure a removal of these posters.”

Similar posters appeared in the Belvoir area of south Belfast last year, prompting an SDLP councillor to remove them himself after he spoke with locals who said they wanted them taken down.