Alliance Higher Education Spokesperson Naomi Long has condemned attacks on Catholics at BIFHE’s Tower Street campus, saying they are completely counterproductive and show an unwillingness to deal with fairness and integration in higher education.
The East Belfast MLA stated: “I utterly condemn threats made against Catholic students going about their normal business an the Tower Street campus. Small-minded individuals who carry out such attacks are representative of no one but themselves, but their actions are utterly self-defeating for the local community.”
Higher education has for a long time in Northern Ireland provided an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to be educated together – often for the first time. It is completely disgraceful that there are still people in society who cannot deal with that.
Those who have shown the willingness to travel to different, often relatively unknown areas of the city to work or to study should be rewarded for doing so.
This sort of thuggish behaviour merely threatens the advances the local community were making in East Belfast in persuading BIFHE to invest in the area. Those of us who genuinely believe in a fair and integrated future will not allow ourselves to be diverted by such small-mindedness.