Belfast Telegraph

Sectarian graffiti daubed on Catholic churches

By Rebecca Black

Two Catholic churches have been targeted in a weekend spree of sectarian graffiti vandalism.

Anti-Catholic slogans were daubed on St Peter's Church on the Rock Road, Stoneyford, and St Joseph's Church on the Kilcorig Road in Glenavy.

A PSNI spokesman said officers believe that the two attacks were linked, and both were being treated as hate crimes.

They come after an attack on a war memorial in Stoneyford on Friday when paint was thrown over it.

Politicians across the spectrum have condemned the incidents, and urged that no more "tit-for-tat"-style attacks are carried out. Both unionists and nationalists have pledged to work to defuse tensions in the area.

UUP councillor Robert Butler said he wanted to see those responsible for each of the attacks brought to justice.

"We will work together to ensure that these attacks don't escalate, and that anybody involved will be brought to justice as quickly as possible," he said.

"I think there's a feeling of vulnerability, people want to know they're going to be supported by their representatives.

"What has begun is dialogue on the ground over the past few months, which we must ensure isn't lost."

SDLP councillor Pat Catney described the attacks as a "backwards step".

"I'm very disappointed, but with the work of level-headed people in the community we'll try to defuse the situation," he said.

Alliance councillor Brian Dornan added: "Any attack on a place of worship is completely unacceptable. There can be no justification for these mindless acts of vandalism."

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