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Last Updated: Friday, 2 February 2007, 09:06 GMT
Hate crimes prompt official visit
Vygaudas Usackas - Lithuanian ambassador
Vygaudas Usackas said action had to be taken
A temporary Lithuanian consulate is being set up in Dungannon, County Tyrone, to offer support to Lithuanians affected by hate crime.

The Lithuanian ambassador to the UK, Vygaudas Usackas, is on a visit to Northern Ireland as a response to recent attacks on Eastern Europeans.

Mr Usackas said that direct action had to be taken.

"In this last fiscal year, 64 attacks have taken place against Lithuanian citizens in Northern Ireland," he said.

"There's a need to make that extra mile to find those perpetrators who conducted these attacks not just for the Lithuanian people, but for everyone involved for justice to take place, which, I think, is one of the key preconditions for stability and the well being of every citizen in Northern Ireland."

Economy

He said that he wanted to help develop a better appreciation for people from Eastern Europe who come to Northern Ireland among "indigenous citizens".

"I think they do clearly contribute to the economy of Northern Ireland and they promote different culture and links between our countries," he said.

He said that people in Lithuania were relatively unaware of the internal problems of Northern Ireland over the last 30 years and were surprised that they were being targeted in attacks.

"I think by and large it (Northern Ireland) is perceived as a country where you can make money," he said.

"That is why people are coming to Northern Ireland, but at the same time people are asking those questions why are Lithuanians being attacked? I'm here also to learn that and try to contribute towards a better course of events."




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