Belfast church damaged in attack

There has been widespread condemnation after a Catholic church was damaged in a petrol bomb attack in Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim.


Paint was also thrown at St Mary’s Star of the Sea church on the Shore Road.


Presbyterian Moderator Dr Rob Craig has condemned the “blatantly sectarian” attack as “despicable”.


“The cross-community condemnation of such actions shows that those who carry out these despicable attacks have no support from wider society where tolerance and respect for diversity are being actively encouraged,”   Dr Craig said.            


Sinn Féin councillor Gerry O’Reilly said the attack was “despicable and completely sectarian”.


He called on those within unionism “to stand shoulder to shoulder with St Mary’s parishioners and use whatever influence they have to end the attacks”.


Speaking to The Irish Catholic this week Parish Priest, Fr Anthony Alexander said the attack had saddened parishioners.  “It is very upsetting, particularly for the older members of the congregation who have a great affection for the church and have been worshiping here for years,” Fr Alexander said.


“This shouldn’t be happening. I find it hard to understand why people would vandalise somewhere, let alone a place of worship,” he said.


“The police and members of the local community and other churches have been very supportive and helpful,” he added.