Northern Ireland

Teenager punched in the face during south Belfast sectarian assault

He was cycling in Ormeau Park when he was approached by a group of boys

The death in Ballyclare was the third across the region’s roads this weekend
The police are appealing for information after a teenager was injured in a sectarian assault (Niall Carson/PA)

A teenage boy has suffered an eye injury after being punched in the face in a sectarian assault, the PSNI has said.

The incident happened in the Ormeau Park area of south Belfast on Wednesday evening, shortly after 8:30pm.

The police have said that the teenager was cycling in the area when he was approached by a number of boys also on bikes.

One of the boys is reported to have directed sectarian abuse towards him, before punching him in the face, resulting in an eye injury.

Inspector Carey said: “The assailant was said to have wearing a jacket with the hood pulled up, and dark coloured trousers and trainers.

”An investigation into the incident, which we are treating as a sectarian motivated hate crime, is underway, and we are appealing for anyone who was in the area at the time and saw what happened, to get in touch.”

SDLP Botanic councillor Gary McKeown has said he was “disgusted at reports of a sectarian attack on a teenage boy in Ormeau Park”.

He added: “This will cause great concern to parents in the area, as a lot of young people use the park to socialise, play sport, and walk and cycle to school.

“Ormeau Park is a really diverse public space enjoyed by people of all ages from all backgrounds, so it’s really concerning that this attack took place here.

“People need to be able to go about their lives without fear of being attacked for being who they are.”