Belfast Telegraph

Outrage as bigots hit church for second time

By Emily Moulton

An east Belfast church has been paint-bombed for the second time in a week, raising fears of more sectarian attacks.

Parishioners attending Mass at St Matthew’s Parish on the Newtownards Road yesterday were shocked to discover their church had been doused in red, white and blue paint again.

Last Thursday offensive slogans about Celtic manager Neil Lennon were sprayed on church walls.

Parish worker Willie Ward said the entire congregation was upset at yesterday’s discovery.

Belfast City Council’s graffiti removal team had just finished cleaning the walls days before the latest attack, he added.

“Church-goers were shocked to see it happen again so soon after the last time,” said Ward.

“We’re disgusted and we’re fed up with it. We have spent a lot of money renovating the inside and outside of our church.”

Police have said officers investigating the incident will check CCTV footage in a bid to identify those responsible

Ulster Unionist MLA Lord Empey condemned those responsible saying it was “completely unacceptable”.

“I am shocked that last week’s despicable actions have been repeated and I would urge anyone with information to come forward to the police immediately.”

Sinn Fein's Niall O Donnghaile said: “Those behind the attacks are a minority and representatives from east Belfast have been proactive in making it very clear that nobody, whatever side of the interface they live on, wants or supports these attacks.”

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