07 Oct 2022

Woman claims she was forced out of her home in Derry after she was heard speaking Irish in the street

A 25-year-old woman claims she has been forced from her Derry home after what she has described as a ‘sectarian hate crime’. She moved to Derry a number of years ago from Donegal to train as a hairdresser but says she has now been intimidated from her Pump Street home by men who overheard her speaking Irish. The young woman, wished to remain anonymous due to fears for her safety, said that she was talking to her mother on the phone in Irish around 11pm on July 11 when three men followed her and threatened to throw her on a bonfire. The incident has been reported to the PSNI and the young woman has been assisted by local councillors who have contacted the Housing Executive. A spokeswoman from the Housing Executive confirmed that the 25-year-old had presented as homeless yesterday morning and they are currently assisting her with finding alternative accommodation. Speaking to the Derry News yesterday, the woman said now feels intimidated and frightened following the incident and has been left homeless as a result. It is the first time she has experienced any form of sectarian abuse and it has left her questioning whether to remain in Derry. “I live in Pump Street,” she explained, “and I was walking along London Street on the phone to my mother speaking in Irish when I heard a fella saying, ‘she’s speaking in Irish’." “When I turned around there were three fellas so I hung up the phone and walked quickly to my flat around the corner. “They followed me and battered on the door shouting a lot of sectarian stuff, like ‘Fenian bast***’. “It has left me feeling scared, it was horrible.” The young woman said the men threatened to throw her on ‘their bonfire’ and returned to her address later that night where they stood outside shouting abuse. There is no prospect of her returning to the address and local Independent councillors along with other agencies have been helping her to source alternative accommodation in another part of the city. “I’m definitely not going back there,” she explained, “it was three fellas on to one girl and that was in public, in a busy street. “I’ve never in my life experienced sectarianism like that, and that’s what made it even more scary for me. “It was really intimidating, just pure hatefulness.” She has also sought support from the Migrant Centre on Clarendon street which deals with different types of hate crimes. The PSNI was contacted about the incident but failed to provide a response.

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