Belfast Telegraph

Graffiti daubed on church walls

Sectarian graffiti has been daubed on the walls of a Protestant church.

The Republican slogans were painted across a wall and on the doors of Ballyarnett Presbyterian Church in Londonderry overnight.

Reverend Alastair Rosborough said some of the words are so bad they could not be repeated.

"They basically say to us that we are not welcome here," he said.

"This is supposed to be the year when this city is the UK City of Culture and we're being told, you're not welcome here."

Local DUP MP Gregory Campbell said the graffiti attack was disgraceful and must be condemned by everyone in the area.

"The graffiti was grossly offensive, sectarian and blatantly anti-Protestant," he said.

"Religious freedom is one of the foundation stones of the United Kingdom, those behind this attack want to close Protestant churches and bully Protestants.

"Whilst an attack like this can raise tensions, I would urge everyone to be calm and certainly there should be no retaliation."

Mr Campbell said the onus must firmly lie with the police to reassure Protestants that proper security will be provided and every effort will be made to bring those responsible to justice.

"Too many Orange Halls and Protestant homes in the north-west are being attacked without anyone bring brought before our courts," he added.

"The Chief Constable needs to take this hate crime seriously and make a visible and determined effort to tackle it.

"We must see a united and vocal opposition from all shades of political."

Sinn Fein councillor Tony Hassan said that the people who defaced the church did not represent the views of the local people and are not Republicans.

"I can reassure Reverend Rosborough that he and his church are very much welcome in this area," he said.

"There has been a Presbyterian community in Ballyarnett area for many years and I hope for many years in the future.

"The local community are outraged at this act of vandalism and I would call on people to stop these actions especially against a place of worship."

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