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Rathcoole centre graffiti removed by Christian group

Volunteers from the Sparks group removing sectarian graffiti from the Dunanney Centre in Rathcoole

Volunteers from the Sparks group removing sectarian graffiti from the Dunanney Centre in Rathcoole

Sectarian graffiti painted on a community centre in Newtownabbey has been removed by a group of Christian young people.

The Dunanney Centre in Rathcoole has been targeted by vandals four times since April – including an arson attack causing £150,000 worth of damage.

In response to the latest incident, members of the Sparks Newtownabbey group removed the slogans ‘Taigs out’ and ‘we support Israel’ from the front and side walls.

The centre provides a range of community facilities including an award-winning Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

Mark Johnston of Sparks said around 50 young people were already involved in improvement work in the area and acted immediately to show solidarity with staff at the centre.

“The majority are from the Rathcoole estate who are sick and tired of what is going on and want to see better things happening here,” he said.

“We have been praying for the Dunanney Centre over the last number of months, so what we had decided to do over the last month was to go in and encourage the staff and to thank them for what they have been doing in the community.

“We wanted to say ‘we love you’ and to show that we really appreciate them,” Mr Johnston added.

Citizens Advice Bureau district manager Pat Hutchinson described the latest incident as “very intimidating and frightening” for staff and warned that the centre could not sustain any further attacks.

 

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