Romanian families in Belfast are forced to flee from their homes following racist attacks.

Tensions in Belfast reached boiling point when a number of Romanian families living on the Lisburn Road were attacked. A nearby church offered food and shelter to the 20 families, where they stayed overnight before being moved to a leisure centre by Belfast City authorities.

Both the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin condemned the racist attacks. Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness called for all parties to do what they can,

To face down these racist criminals, that tiny group that they are in our society who believe that it is sensible to attack defenceless women and children.

Speculation that Loyalist paramilitaries are behind the racist attacks was rejected by local Unionist politicians with Belfast Deputy High Sheriff Frank McCoubrey saying,

I don’t believe that Loyalists would step that low to do what has been done here.

The next step for the refugees is to be decided however it is clear that a number of them, particularly those with children, want to go home to their native land.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 17 June 2009. The reporter is Brendan Wright.