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Residents support ‘bullied’ family

By Francesca Ryan

The mother of a child who took his own life has made an emotional appeal to be left alone to grieve for her dead son. Margaret Mongan was speaking after her Poleglass home was attacked on Tuesday night. The mother-of-five has pleaded to those behind the attack to leave her and her four remaining children in peace to mourn the death of 15-year-old John who took his own life just three months ago.

On Tuesday night Margaret and her eldest son Patrick were at home when they heard a loud noise outside.

“I heard something and looked out the window,” said Patrick, “I saw a man in a tracksuit pouring petrol over our house. I woke my mummy and then ran to get water, I knew what he was doing.”

Margaret says the man made a threatening gesture to her when she shouted to him from the window.  She says she is frightened that she could lose a second child because of the intimidation she claims her family has received for living a lifestyle that is not in keeping with the Traveller tradition.

“We do things our own way, we have stepped outside the Traveller life but that isn’t going down well. My son John was bullied for many reasons, not least because he didn’t get married young, which is the Traveller way. Now he is dead and they are still bullying us.

“We want to be left alone to grieve in peace. I have enough pain to last me a lifetime so why are they continuing with this?

“I want my other children to feel safe in their own home.  I have brought them up to look out for each other and to go to school but they are all just terrified at the minute, and for what?

“We have never done anything to harm anyone.  We have been here for 14 years and are settled, our neighbours are great and they support us through this intimidation but we have had enough, we are just living in fear and we want it to stop.”

Jim McCarthy from Community Restorative Justice said the Mongan family has the full support of the community.

“This family has suffered enough,” he said.

“They have lived in the settled community for quite a few years and have quietly got on with their lives. This whole community is suffering from what is going on here and nobody wants it to continue. This is a good family who should be left alone to mourn their tragic loss in peace.

“The whole community is behind them to support them through this tough time.”

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