Catholic Pupils Still Harassed in Belfast

Doctors Prescribing Tranquilizers for Children

LONDON, OCT. 15, 2001 ( Catholic pupils of Holy Cross School in Belfast, Northern Ireland, continue to be the target of Protestants´ insults and protests.

As they did a month ago, the children every morning endure the shouts and insults of Protestant residents of the neighborhood where the school is located.

“Doctors prescribe tranquilizers for children because they cannot sleep at night due to their fear about what might happen the next day,” said Father John McManus, spokesman for the Down and Connor Diocese.

“It is very grave that such young children — some are only 4 years old — must suffer insults, which have the effect of psychological torture on them,” the priest said in statements to the press.

Holy Cross, a Catholic school, is located in a Protestant neighborhood, and has children ages 4 to 11. Relations between the two communities entered a crisis in June.

“It is indispensable that the residents of the neighborhood and representatives of the Catholic community sit around a table to dialogue,” Father McManus stressed.