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Police response to sectarian attack on children’s bus unacceptable – Kelly

16 November, 2014 - by Gerry Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said today that he has told senior police that their handling of a sectarian attack on a minibus in Ballysillan was completely unacceptable.

Gerry Kelly was speaking after the letters KATs (Kill All Taigs) were spray-painted on a minibus being used by an Under 12 football team.

Gerry Kelly said:

“Children younger than 12 years of age returned to their minibus after playing a football match at the Ballysillan Leisure Centre on Friday to find it had been spray-painted with the letters KAT.

“The children were very frightened by this experience. The children’s mentors contacted police but at least half an hour passed before police came back to them on the phone and the team and mentors had by that time left the area as they were afraid of attack. No police had arrived at the scene by then.

“I have contacted senior police officers today and told them that their response to this incident is totally unacceptable.

“I will also be raising the matter through the Policing Board and contacting Belfast City Council who have a responsibility for the safety of users of its facilities.

“I want to commend the adults who were mentoring and accompanying the young children for getting them home safely.

“It’s possible that this action was the work of only a small number of individuals but it’s despicable that anyone would be bigoted enough to target children in this way.

“There is no place for this type of sectarian intimidation. If it does continue at sporting facilities then those with a responsibility for arranging fixtures need to ensure that the safety of children is paramount.”

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