Church attacked for sixth time this year

A parish priest in Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim has described as “exasperating” the sixth act of vandalism against his church since the start of the year.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic following his discovery of the latest paint attack on St Mary’s Star of the Sea, Fr Anthony Alexander expressed his sadness at the repeated targeting of the church.

“We just got the church looking beautiful and freshly painted,” Fr Anthony said. “It is truly exasperating.”

However, the priest added, that despite the sadness of parishioners at the ongoing attacks, they would “get on with it” and insisted the “problem” lay squarely with the attackers.

That sentiment is shared by communities neighbouring St Mary’s which have expressed support for the parish.

To this must be added the condemnation voiced from political figures, including the Ulster Unionist Party’s John Scott who described as “cowardly” an attack on a place of worship and The Democratic Unionist Party’s Nigel Dodds who said such attacks “are the actions of mindless thugs and they will be condemned by all right-thinking people”.

The latest attack came despite the recent installation of cctv cameras in the church grounds and clear warning signs for anyone entering the grounds.

As The Irish Catholic went to press, footage was being examined for sign of those behind the latest attack.