Unionists condemn overnight attack on Catholic church in Co Antrim

Sacred Heart Church was targeted by vandals sometime between midnight on Saturday and early this morning.
Sacred Heart Church was targeted by vandals sometime between midnight on Saturday and early this morning.

Ulster Unionist representatives in Co Antrim have expressed "disgust" at those responsible for an overnight paint bomb attack on a Catholic church in Ballyclare.

Sacred Heart Church on the Doagh Road was targeted sometime between midnight and Easter Sunday morning.

Parish priest Fr Joe Rooney said the attack had no impact on scheduled services and "everything went ahead as normal."

"I would like to acknowledge the support we have received from the local community, which is most welcome and very reassuring," he said.

In a joint statement, UUP representatives including South Antrim MLA Steve Aiken and all the party's Antrim and Newtownabbey council candidates, condemned the "sectarian attack."

They said: “We are totally disgusted at what has happened at a place of worship. Desecration is a disgusting act at any time of the year, but at Easter it is even more poignant.

“We are all really angry that people would target their Catholic neighbours’ sacred place of worship in this despicable way. Our thoughts and prayers are with those parishioners who will feel deeply hurt at these actions and we assure them all, the bigoted thugs who did this do not represent the people of our great borough.”

A post on the PSNI Newtownabbey Facebook page said: "Any right minded person can see the pain and anguish that this would cause.

"Officers in Newtownabbey are interested to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area of the Doagh Road overnight."

Police officers investigating the attack have urged witnesses to contact them on 101 quoting reference 438 of 21/04/2019.