Police investigating ‘hate incident’ in Town Park

Dromore Town Park.
Dromore Town Park.

A Dutch woman has told how she was left feeling “threatened and upset” after a man made xenophobic comments towards her while she was out walking in Dromore Town Park earlier this week.

The woman, who didn’t want to be named, was in the park with her two young children at around 12.30pm on Thursday afternoon (September 21) when she was approached by a man on a bike.

“He was a man of about 60 and he rode over on his bike and started talking to me,” she explained. “He asked me if I was local and I just thought he was wanting a chat. I told him I live in Northern Ireland and he said ‘Yes, but you are not local’. I thought he must have heard me saying something in Dutch to my children so I said ‘I am originally from the Netherlands, but I have lived here for four years’. He sort of sniggered and said ‘Yes, that’s what I mean, you are part of the problem, aren’t you?’. I didn’t think he would do anything, but I felt threatened as I was on my own with two young children. I just wanted to get my kids out of the situation so I walked off as quickly as I could and he just cycled off.”

The woman, who is married to a man from Co Down, added: “It’s quite upsetting that someone you don’t know and you haven’t done anything to would come up to you and say something like that. I’m not sure what problem he thinks I’m part of, but it was not nice. It is the first time anything like this has happened to me since I moved here.

“I have no idea why this man would say something like that to me. Maybe it’s a Brexit thing, but I have no idea.”

After speaking to her husband about what happened, the woman decided to report the incident to the police.

“I thought it was so minor that I wouldn’t even go to the police, but my husband said I should and the police were in agreement with that. They said I was right to report it,” she added.

A PSNI spokesperson confirmed that they are treating the matter as “a hate incident”.