Romanians attacked in Northern Ireland, a rise in ethnic nationalism?

Attacks on about 100 families of Romanians in Belfast, No. Ireland appears to be motivated by anger at foreigners and frustration at a declining economic climate in a country that was booming in recent years.   But, I have to say, after scanning several articles I still don’t have a good handle on what is going on.  I wanted to know how the Romanians came to be in Ireland in the first place. 

Finally this article in the Irish Times last Thursday gave me a few useful bits of information.

The Roma people have been a feature of Belfast city life in the past two years. Many of them sell the Belfast Telegraph on the streets. Other are involved in car washing, some sell the Big Issues , others simply beg.


The attacks began last Wednesday, apparently spontaneously without any motivation apart from racism, and continued in the following days.


The overwhelming majority of the families did not speak English, so Maria Fechete, who has made an effort to learn the language in recent months, was delegated to speak on their behalf.

The families “want to go home” to Romania, she said. “I haven’t slept in a week,” she added.


He [a friend of the Romanians] said the family told him they came to Northern Ireland out of desperation because there was no work in Romania. He wondered whether they were having second thoughts about their decision.

If anger against foreigners (fellow Europeans no less) is building in Ireland I wonder how they are taking the African, Middle Eastern and Rohingya refugees settling there.

Here is a link to another article about the Romanians.

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