Alliance: South Belfast’s diversity must be upheld in wake of Brexit

The Alliance Party in South Belfast has said that while there’s been confirmation the Brexit vote hasn’t led to an official increase in hate crimes locally, the situation must be monitored, with South Belfast’s unique diversity continuing to flourish.

Paula Bradshaw MLA, Councillor Emmet McDonough Brown and Councillor Kate Nicholl commented after the local PSNI Area Commander confirmed they hadn’t experienced any unusual increases in the past week.

Paula Bradshaw MLA said: “Belfast remains an open, inclusive city, with South Belfast’s valued diversity at the heart of what makes it a fantastic part of this great city.

“Along with my Council colleagues, I have been extremely concerned about unconfirmed reports of abuse and bully-style tactics directed at minorities within our community over the past week.

“In speaking with the local Area Commander, I’m relieved to hear this hasn’t been the case. In the aftermath of the Brexit vote we must all be extremely careful with our words, avoiding pouring further fuel on an already intense situation.

“However we can never be complacent and while there may not have been an increase, any hate crime is one too many. South Belfast must remain a welcoming society and it is essential we do all we can to allay the fears of the many immigrants who continue to help build our vibrant society.

“Alliance does not want to see a community focused on fear and intimidation and we will continue to monitor the situation, doing what we can to ensure the rights of all traditions are respected and welcomed.”

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