11 January 2006

Race-hate loyalists target woman

Daily Ireland

Alan Erwin


A black woman may be forced to quit a loyalist housing estate after her home was daubed with shocking racist slogans, she said last night.
Alison Antoine (34) woke yesterday to find the words “Die Nigger” spray-painted on the front of the house in Stiles, Co Antrim.
A swastika, the Nazi SS symbol and “White Power” were also scrawled on the Housing Executive property at Rathkyle where she has lived for four years.
Ms Antoine said: “I’m sick of it and don’t know what to do. I’m frightened to walk out onto the street unless I have someone with me.”
The Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities described it as one of the worst incidents of race-hate it had encountered. Executive director Patrick Yu said: “Normally they distribute leaflets, but this time it is targeting a specific family. It’s very serious.”
Ms Antoine, originally from Grenada, moved to Ireland more than 10 years ago to be close to her partner Robert Jones’s family.
Although the unemployed woman stressed most people in Antrim have caused her no trouble, she told how the intimidation from a minority has intensified.
A garden shed was burnt down and her kitchen windows smashed since she moved in to the town, she said.
“I have been victimised because of my colour and had racist names shouted at me, but nothing like this. I don’t know why somebody has done this to me, I wish they would leave me alone,” miss Antoine added.
“It’s making me think about asking to move.”
A Housing Executive order has been issued to have the graffiti removed on Wednesday.
The attack horrified Ken Wilkinson, a Progressive Unionist representative in Antrim. Mr Wilkinson, whose party is aligned to the Ulster Volunteer Force, said the Loyalist Commission he sits on has attempted to stop the spread of racism by distributing leaflets and talking to youths: “These people who come in the dead of night and target a vulnerable girl are scum. They probably cheer-on their favourite football team with five or six black players. My father and his brothers fought to defeat the swastika which represents the murder of six million people,” he said.
“When I see a swastika it insults me and it insults the people I represent.”
Mr Yu also insisted those responsible posed a major threat and urged any witnesses not to stay silent.
“Someone, somewhere saw something and they need to tell the police. One of the difficulties of race-hate crime is when local police say nothing.”
A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman confirmed detectives were investigating a racist attack at Rathkyle.
He said: “Racist slogans were spray-painted on the wall.
“A man and woman were in at the time and it’s thought the incident took place during the hours of 4am to 8am.”

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