PSNI probes face paint picture

Published Monday, 14 July 2014
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Police have launched an investigation to determine if an offence has been committed after the picture of a young girl with her face painted with a sectarian slogan emerged on social media.

PSNI probes face paint picture
The image was circulated on social media sites. (© Screengrab)

The image, which has been widely shared online, is believed to have been taken during an Eleventh night bonfire in north Belfast.

The five-year-old girl is pictured with a Union flag painted on her cheek and the sectarian acronym 'KAT' on her forehead in red, white and blue.

The child's mother, who said she was not at the party when the incident occurred, told The Irish News children at the event were painting the slogan on each other.

She said she was shocked to see the image and hit out at those who had posted it online.

"The kids got the paints and wrote on it," she told the newspaper.

"They see it all the time sprayed all over the walls in the area.

"I have friends and family from both sides of the community.

"I wasn't at the party, so I didn't know what was on her head until I finished work.

"If I'd been there the kids would not have it on their heads.

"It was kids messing about and you can tell by the way it is written.

"I asked her what it meant and she said 'kiss and tell' - she doesn't understand, God love her."

We need to send out a clear message that all forms of hate and sectarianism have no place in society and that children in particular deserve protection from it.

Naomi Long MP

The woman said that the child's grandparents were in a mixed marriage.

She added: "It is a disgrace people are taking it upon themselves to put this on republican sites.

"It has gotten out of hand."

Naomi Long MP described the image as "utterly depressing and shocking" saying it was a "sad indictment of our society".

The Alliance deputy leader added: "To expose this young girl to this form of sectarianism and hatred is child abuse.

"It beggars belief that anybody would believe it is acceptable to write this message on a person's face, let alone a young child.

"Sadly, it isn't an isolated incident. We have previously seen children dressed in paramilitary garb posing with replica weapons, for example.

A PSNI spokesman added: "Police have received a report, enquiries will be carried out to establish if any offences have been committed."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
90 Comments
M in Belfast wrote (11 days ago):
Winston, no harm to you, but catch a grip.
Irish in England in wrote (11 days ago):
I am one of 8 children who grew up in West Belfast in the 80s. I can thankfully say that I never knew, and was never brought up to know a "them and us". I would say majority of my friends and neighbours were exactly the same. It was not until I was about 11 or 12 or so I remember asking my parents, "what is the difference between Catholic and Protestants?" and my parents answer was "nothing". Now my siblings and I have all grown up and moved away from the area we grew up, half of us are actually in mixed marriages ourselves. We were brought up to see the bigger picture, to realise there is a whole big bold world out there to explore. We went passed walls with IRA murals on them daily as a children, wouldn't of crossed our minds to paint it on our faces, it was my care bear face paints and Superman for us at parties. St Patricks Day we celebrated being Irish - not being Catholic. Little girls Mother is more to be pitied if this is what she wants for her child. Can only hope this will make her open her eyes and see how foolish she is being. Hopefully when I have children of my own one day, they too will never know a "them and us". 6 x 4 is all we all get at the end of this life. No more than anyone else, regardless of your creed or colour. So I put my effort into enjoying my life, loving my family and friends and zero effort into hating people!
Peter in Finaghy, Belfast wrote (11 days ago):
Dee: Very well said. I've heard, worryingly, a lot of people saying "sure what is the difference between that and you celebrating St. Paddy's day?". I mean! What? 3 words. Education, Education, Education. The way people seem to think that celebrating St. Paddy's day is sectarian. I mean how in heaven's name can that ever be seen as sectarian? It is for ALL people of this island to celebrate them being FROM this island. Nothing else. Nothing political. Nothing sinister. Nothing devious. Nothing bad. No hidden agenda. Whereas what was painted on that wee girls head is all of those plus dangerous, bigoted and criminal. How can people even begin to associate the two? Beggar’s belief.
Hugh in Belfast wrote (11 days ago):
If everyone would have a look on facebook you would clearly see what this childs mother really thinks about it, She knows exactly what it means, and her comments under this picture are shocking. There is photos of her page doing the rounds. This comment more than likely will not be published though
Dee in Newtownabbey wrote (12 days ago):
Lauren in Belfast please explain where the similarity is in someone exclaiming 'thank God I'm a Prod' and someone proclaiming their Irishness on St Pat's Day. I find it very alarming you feel there is any kind of link whatsoever. One is overtly sectarian and the other is a perfectly normal and legitimate expression of nationality, exactly the same had it been American, Scottish, English, Chinese, Australian, etc. Quite incredible you believe they are one and the same. I think you, like a lot of misguided and ill-informed people in this silly little place need a lesson in disentangling religion from nationality. Incredible.
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