Family forced to flee

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Family forced to flee thumbnailThe house in Ramoan Close that was attacked last week.

A WOMAN who had to flee her home after death threats were allegedly shouted at her family has vowed never to set foot in Ballycastle again.
Speaking to the Chronicle, the woman who wished to remain anonymous, said she feared for her life and the lives of her family members as a large group of people launched an attack on her Ramoan Close home.
The mother and grandmother said the attack, which police are treating as a hate crime, is the latest in a spate of abuse directed at her and her family.
Speaking to The Chronicle the 43-year-old said: "We have been getting hassle since January when we were verbally abused in the street. I was called a 'gypsy ba**ard' and over Easter the abuse continued, coming to a head last Monday evening.
“After 10pm I heard a woman's voice screaming at me to come out of the house.  I was worried as my daughter, who is expecting a baby, had just left the house to go to the shop and I knew she'd be coming home to be faced with this.
“The shouting continued and the threats to kill us kept coming.  My daughter managed to get into a neighbours house whilst I got the rest of the children upstairs into the bathroom for safety. 
“We were absolutely terrified.  By this time our front door was being kicked down, glass was breaking and coming in on top of me, I had glass on my face and the children were frightened."
The woman, who volunteers for a charity in the town, said she has lived in Ballycastle three times in her life and always loved the town.
A member of the Irish travelling community, she used to spend her summer holidays in Ballycastle and wanted her family to experience the friendliness of the seaside town.
Unfortunately, after 18 months in Ramoan Close, the family say they will never live here again and have lodged a request with their Housing Association to be moved as far away as possible.
She continued: "Everyone in the town knows us.  I have always felt welcome here. The people in the neighbourhood have always been more than kind.  I don't blame anyone except the group behind the attack.  I just can't bear living in the town after people threatened to take my life, the lives of my children and grandchildren. How could we ever feel safe here?"
The woman said although she rang the police during the incident, she had to rely on a friend to come and get them out of the house once the attack had died down.
She added: "I was trying to protect myself and my grandchildren and if it hadn't been for my friend coming to help, I dread to think what way it would have ended."
Ballycastle Sinn Féin Councillor, Cara McShane, has condemned the attack saying:"This attack from a large group of people on a family in their own home was sinister and an extremely frightening experience for a mother and her children.
“The family have made Ballycastle their home having holidayed in the area for years before. The lady contributes positively to our community. Now they have been forced to seek refuge away from this area and to try and rebuild their lives.
“The people in Ballycastle are angry and disgusted that this has happened. The people who carried out this vicious attack offer nothing to this society and are well known to the authorities.
“The police have evidence and they need to act robustly to ensure a successful conviction in this case and to send out a message that hate crime will not be tolerated in our community."
A spokesperson from Triangle Housing said: "We are aware of an incident involving a tenant of one of our properties in Ramoan Close. We are liaising with the PSNI who are currently investigating the incident. We have also provided appropriate ongoing support to the affected tenant."
A police spokesperson said: "Police investigating an incident in Ramoan Close in Ballycastle on Monday 23 April, arrested an 18 year old man, on Thursday 26th April, on suspicion of criminal damage, threats to kill, affray and using words to stir up racial hatred. Following interview, he was released on bail pending further police enquiries."


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