Long condemns sectarian abuse

Naomi Long MP has condemned sectarian abuse given to junior boxers at a competition in her constituency.

Alliance MP Mrs Long said the abuse, which erupted during the competition at Avoniel Leisure Centre on Thursday (January 22) would have been an “awful” experience for those subjected to it.

The competition involved boxers from the Dockers club in North Belfast, which had three fighters aged 13 and 14 participating as part of Belfast City Council’s Day of Boxing event. According to witnesses, trouble began after the closing bell of the final contest, with sectarian abuse being hurled at the group.

“It is terrible that anyone coming into East Belfast and using the centre should be subject to such abuse,” said Mrs Long.

“Sport ought to be free of sectarianism and Council facilities, which are open to anyone who wishes to use them, should be safe spaces.

“Those who carry out these acts do nothing but damage the reputation of the centre involved and the wider East Belfast community. Anyone with information on this incident should contact the police immediately.”

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