Condemnation after sectarian graffiti daubed on Derry church door
An attack on a Catholic church in Co Londonderry, which the PSNI is treating as a sectarian hate crime, has been condemned by politicians across the spectrum.
St Mary's Church on Irish Green Street in Limavady was daubed with 'UFF' and 'UDA' slogans, while a statue in the church grounds was desecrated with black paint.
The church has stood in the town for more than 170 years.
Monsignor Bryan McCanny told BBC News NI that there has never been such a negative incident on this scale before in the parish.
"The two police officers who arrived this morning helped to clean the paint off the door," he said.
"We never had a problem like this before.
"There was something very minor about five or six years ago but this is completely new to us.
"Parishioners are very upset about it.
"It's depressing that things like this should happen when we are enjoying peace."
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Brenda Chivers said she was "disgusted".
The Sinn Fein councillor said: "I'm very saddened that this has happened.
"There has been an increase in kerb painting in recent weeks and unfortunately I think this may be a continuation of that.
"We are appealing for no retaliation. It's a worrying situation. We want this to come to an end."
In a separate incident, police said two cars were set alight on the North West Regional College's (NWRC) campus which sits on the outskirts on the town.
Raymond Kennedy of the UUP called the attack on the church "disgraceful".
"I know the police are treating this as a sectarian hate crime and it is deplorable that any place of worship should ever be attacked," he said.
"I also condemn the arson attack at the North West Regional College campus in which two vehicles were set alight.
"The people of Limavady want nothing to do with antisocial behaviour of any type.
"They respect their neighbours and want to live their lives and bring up their families in peace and harmony.
SDLP MLA for East Londonderry John Dallat added his condemnation.
"There is absolutely no place for sectarian graffiti in our society, let alone on the walls and doors of a church," he said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for NWRC confirmed that two cars had been "damaged" at their Greystone campus.
Police investigating the separate incidents have urged anyone with information to contact them on 101.