Dungannon District Council is introducing a motion calling for zero tolerance to be shown towards racism, after sinister graffiti claiming that “leasing property to foreign nationals will not be tolerated” appeared in Moygashel.
It is the second time this year that police have had to investigate such messages appearing in the village, after similar signs were posted in January.
Property owners in Moygashel have approached political representatives to complain about the intimidation, claiming that the village has become ‘a dangerous place’ for private landlords.
SDLP Councillor Anthony McGonnell, who introduced the council motion, warned that some political leaders were giving ‘a very poor example’ by their dangerous comments.
“They appear to be condoning racism, and then only qualify their remarks after widespread outrage. Elected representatives have a moral duty to stand up to this type of racist intimidation.
“We have to weed out the perpetrators, apprehend them and make them amenable to the rule of law.
“I have heard at first-hand the problems faced by local landlords and the intimidation they are experiencing.”
The SDLP representative said that racism has been largely overcome in other parts of the town and district, but that there was ‘an ongoing problem’ in Moygashel.
“Unfortunately, we find that racism and sectarianism are intertwined - where racism is endemic, so is sectarianism.
“We have to expose these bullies once and for all, and that means elected representatives must stand up to them.”
The council motion states in full: “Given the ongoing racist attacks in this council area, the ensuing fear generated in the migrant communities, and the collateral damage to this district’s image, that Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council resolves, in partnership with statutory agencies and community groups, to pursue measures to eliminate all such attacks in order to create an environment in which there is zero tolerance to racism and in which ethnic diversity is celebrated”.
Area Commander Chief Inspector Jane Humphries said: “It is disappointing that a small minority of people are engaged in this type of behaviour.
“Local police would like to reassure the public that our priority is to keep communities safe and to reassure them that we can act quickly and effectively.”