The Ulster Unionist Party’s Justice Spokesperson, Doug Beattie MC MLA, has called for a full investigation to be carried out into the allegations currently surrounding individuals linked to the Romanian Roma Community Association for Northern Ireland (RRCANI).
Doug Beattie MLA said:
“Many people will have been very concerned at the reports that have emerged regarding the activities of individuals linked to the Romanian Roma Community Association for Northern Ireland (RRCANI). This includes alleged intimidation and exploitation of the vulnerable Roma community in South Belfast, the very community they receive public funding to support.
“Given RRCANI received payment from the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, the Belfast Trust and Belfast City Council, it is clearly important that an investigation is completed as quickly and as thoroughly as possible without disrupting important support to this vulnerable group.
“Exploitation of vulnerable individuals can lead to some very dark places indeed and I am concerned as to what other revelations may emerge. I am also aware that there are allegations that some elected representatives were aware of concerns relating to this group’s activities, yet failed to take action.
“We must be very clear. If there has been illegal activity - and it is of course up to the PSNI to investigate - then any elected representative who knew about this activity and failed to report it to the police will have some very serious questions to answer. At the same time, anyone involved in exploiting this community for their own personal gain should feel the full force of the law. It is simply not acceptable that this type of behaviour continues to exist and if the PSNI do not have the resources to conduct a full investigation, then the National Crime Agency (NCA) should be brought in.”