Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Catholic church attacked in sectarian flare-up

A Sinn Fein politician has hit out at an attack on a Catholic church in Rasharkin and called for an end to sectarian unrest in the area.

There has been sectarian-fuelled violence and attacks in the village in recent months and speaking last night, following the latest incident in which a number of windows were smashed at St Columba’s Church, Daithi McKay condemned the people responsible.

“To attack a church of any denomination is a sickening and reprehensible act and this attack must be condemned by all political parties,” he said.

“Anyone with information should bring it forward to ensure that those who carried it out are prosecuted. Local people are sick, sore and tired of these attacks. Those who carry out sectarian attacks on the Catholic or Protestant community here represent no-one.”

Trouble flared in Rasharkin in the run up to the marching season.

Last month dissident republican slogans were painted on the Orange hall in Rasharkin – the third time it was targeted this year.

The initials ONH — short for Oglaigh na hEireann — and RIRA were painted on Rasharkin's hall, along with the words, “no peaceful Twelfth this year”.

At the time Mr McKay, who lives in the village, said: “The Orange hall in Rasharkin has been targeted before and each time we have condemned it without reservation because no-one in this community supports these sorts of sectarian attacks.

“They are absolutely senseless and we condemn those involved. This is not a republican action by them, but a sectarian action.”

There was also trouble last month as three loyal order bands returned to the village after parading in nearby Ballymoney.

Three police officers sustained minor injuries when they were pelted with stones and masonry.

A petrol bomb set the front of an armoured Land Rover on fire. Dozens of police in riot gear were deployed and one man was arrested.

The missiles were thrown by gangs of hooded nationalist youths who had gathered at the Carnfinton estate in the heart of the village.

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