Boy (11) suffers injuries to face following race hate attack in playground
The mother of a Polish schoolboy injured in a racist attack in a Co Down playground has thanked well-wishers for their messages of support.
Igor Tedewicz (11) was attacked by other children at Clonallan Park in Warrenpoint on Saturday evening.
He suffered injuries to his face before some other children playing in the park intervened to stop the assault.
Igor's mother Gosia wrote of her outrage at the attack on her Facebook page: "My heart is broken, my poor wee boy was attacked today by few children in Clonallon park because he's Polish, after nine years in Ireland it's hard to believe that."
She later thanked members of the public who sent her messages of support over social media.
"Thank you to all of you amazing people for all your messages and all those lovely comments they mean a lot to us," she wrote.
"I'm sorry but I wasn't able to open all of those messages and reply to them."
Gosia added: "I'm trying to read and answer them but I'm still getting new ones. Thank you for all good wishes, Igor is feeling much better today."
One person wrote: "The poor wee soul! Thank God it's a minority of people who think this way! Still it shouldn't be happening in 2015 and especially to children."
Another posted: "Gosia this is awful. Cannot believe children would treat other children like this. Children are not born racist, it is taught by others, horrible to think people instil this behaviour in their children."
The attack has been slammed by Sinn Fein South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane. She said: "I am disappointed children as young as 10 have engaged in what seems to be a racist attack on a boy from a Polish family.
"This young boy has lived most of his life in Ireland and needs to be treated as an equal citizen.
"All forms of hate crimes, whether it is racism, sectarianism or homophobia are wrong and we need to stand up and tackle it in all its forms.
"I hope that the parents and schools of the children involved act immediately given the seriousness of the incident to educate these children how wrong racism is and that the boy makes a full and speedy recovery." Councillor Mickey Ruane added: "We have had a number of families from other countries who have settled in Warrenpoint and the surrounding area over the past number of years.
"They have been welcomed by all right-thinking citizens and have contributed to our society in a really positive way.
"We have always hoped and expected that they would be treated with dignity and respect.
"It is, therefore, shocking to find that there are some who would deny that same respect to others who have chosen to come to live in our town, in search for nothing more than a better life for themselves and their children."
A PSNI spokesman said of the incident: "This is perceived to be a hate incident and enquiries are ongoing.
"The matter will also be referred to the youth diversion officer."