Police probing sectarian attacks at Crumlin church and Limavady chapel
Vandals have targeted two places of worship in what police are treating as sectarian motivated hate crimes.
White paint was thrown in the grounds of a Presbyterian church in Co Antrim, while in a separate incident sectarian graffiti was daubed on a chapel in Co Londonderry.
Limavady parish priest, Monsignor Brian McCanny, described the attack on St Mary’s Chapel in the town as “mindless” and “sinister”.
He told the News Letter that ‘UVF’ and ‘UDA’ had been written on the church door and other parts of the building, and black paint was also daubed on a crucifix. The attack happened on Tuesday morning.
“It was worrying and distressing for our parishioners to see that sort of thing on their way to Mass this morning,” he added.
“I have been at this parish for eight years now and this is the first incident of this kind to take place here.
“My parishioners also tell me that this sort of thing did not even happen here during the Troubles.
“The response of the community has been very good, and I want to give special mention to the two PSNI officers who attended and started to remove the paint and help us to clean up.”
The attack has been roundly condemned by politicians from across the divide.
Ulster Unionist representative Raymond Kennedy branded the incident “disgraceful” and “deplorable”, adding: “The people of Limavady want nothing to do with antisocial behaviour of any type.”
Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald said parishioners and locals are “incensed” by what she described as “nothing more than blatant sectarian vandalism”.
She added: “This attack comes after an increase in the numbers of paramilitary flags being flown and a surge in kerb painting in the town.
“I would urge all elected and community leaders within unionism to show leadership in order to bring an end to the tensions in the area caused by marking territory in this way.”
SDLP MLA John Dallat said those responsible “should be ashamed” of their actions.
“They do not represent the people of East Derry and it will not be tolerated,” the East Londonderry representative added.
Meanwhile, police are also probing a hate crime at Crumlin Presbyterian Church, where vandals caused damage to the car park by throwing white paint.
The incident happened some time between Saturday lunchtime and Sunday morning.
South Down UUP MLA Steve Aiken said the desecration of any place of worship is “simply unacceptable”.
He told the News Letter: “This is despicable behaviour and should be condemned by all society.
“The fact that these sorts of attacks appear to be on the increase underlines the importance of all political parties to condemn such behaviour outright.”