SDLP East Belfast city councillor Séamas de Faoite has said those behind an online campaign of hate against an Irish language nursery school in east Belfast should be ashamed of themselves.
Naíscoil na Seolta has announced that it has decided to relocate to another site in east Belfast.
Braniel Nursery and Primary School, whose campus hosted the school, said the relocation was due to “an ongoing social media campaign of hate”.
The Lisnasharragh councillor said:
“Those who ran this campaign of hate against nursery school children are truly warped and twisted. This school wasn’t even open yet, it was due to welcome its first pupils in September and has already been forced to move. This lack of tolerance is disgusting and is in no way representative of the majority of people in east Belfast.
“The opening of an Irish language nursery school in east Belfast should have been a symbol of how far we have come in the past few decades, instead it has now become a symbol of how far we still have to go in Northern Ireland.
“That the prospect of infants learning Irish while attending an integrated nursery sparked such a campaign of hate really is hard to comprehend. It’s also a slap in the face to the great work Linda Ervine and others have been doing in the community to open up opportunities around the Irish language to a wider demographic.
“News like this is something that should have been left long in the past. That these things are still happening in 2021 is really disheartening. Those behind this campaign of hate should stop and take a long hard look at themselves and their pathetic actions, they have achieved nothing more than blackening the name of their neighbourhood and upsetting young children and their families.
“I welcome that the Naíscoil has already found a new site in east Belfast and hope that this campaign of hate will now end once for all and pupils and teachers are given the opportunity to settle into their new surroundings when school starts in September. I’m sure the vast majority of people in east Belfast will be delighted to welcome them.”