Belfast Telegraph

Graffiti attack on Catholic church slammed by PUP

A sectarian attack on a Catholic church in east Belfast has been condemned.

The church in the Short Strand was daubed with sectarian graffiti following Rangers’ defeat by Celtic on Wednesday night.

The PUP said it would donate cash to help repair the damage.

St Matthew's Church, which sits on the edge of the notorious interface between the nationalist Short Strand and unionist Newtownards Road, was targeted in the aftermath of the ill-tempered Scottish Cup replay.

Graffiti threatening Celtic boss Neil Lennon was painted on the doors of the church, and lights were smashed.

The vandalism was condemned by the local unionist community with PUP leader Brian Ervine branding it a “mindless” attack.

“Football is for the football field, it should not spill over onto our streets in thoughtless acts of thuggery,” he said. “To show our support for the parishioners of St Matthew's, the Progressive Unionist Party are donating £500 towards the cost of rectifying the damage.”

Hitting out at the vandals, community worker and avid Rangers supporter Jim Wilson said: “The thugs who carried out this attack will skulk back to their homes whilst the innocent people who live near the chapel are likely to take the brunt of any retaliation.”

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