Ulster Unionists condemn arson attack at St Patrick’s Church

St Patrick's Catholic Church on Donegall Street in Belfast. Photo: Jonathan Porter / Press Eye

St Patrick's Catholic Church on Donegall Street in Belfast. Photo: Jonathan Porter / Press Eye

Robert Foster, the Ulster Unionist Party’s North Belfast candidate in the forthcoming Assembly elections, has condemned an arson attack which took place on Monday afternoon in St Patrick’s church on Belfast’s Donegall Street.

Robert Foster said: “I totally condemn the arson attack on St Patrick’s church which caused smoke damage. There is simply no place for attacks such as this in our community.

“All places of worship should be respected and I would call on anyone who has any information regarding this incident to pass it on to the Police immediately”

The blaze, which was discovered on Monday afternoon, caused “significant damage” to St Patrick’s in Donegall Street, Bishop Noel Treanor said.

“I am deeply shocked and appalled by the suspected arson attack,” he said.

“This criminal action is a violation of the sanctity of the church and an attack upon the local community that has caused significant damage to the property and left the local congregation distressed and deeply upset.”

Bishop Treanor said he has been reassured by the many messages of support from local clergy and across the community.

“The police and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene and are currently investigating the cause of the fire. I pay tribute to these emergency services who acted quickly to bring the fire under control and have prevented further damage to this most beloved place of worship in the heart of the city of Belfast,” he added.