Northern Ireland

Newtownabbey Belfast Catholic church damaged in attack

Paint on church

A Catholic church in Newtownabbey, County Antrim, has been damaged in a petrol bomb attack.

Paint was also thrown at St Mary's Star of the Sea Church on the Shore Road.

The damage was reported to police on Sunday. They are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

Parish priest, Father Anthony Alexander said this was the fifth incident at the church in the last year. "It is upsetting, particularly for the older members of the congregation."

He added: "I just can't work out why it is happening - I can't guess why they are doing it and I find it hard to understand why people would vandalise somewhere, let alone a place of worship.

"The police and members of the local community and other churches have been very supportive and helpful."

Sinn Féin councillor Gerry O'Reilly said the attack was "despicable and completely sectarian".

"St Mary's has been targeted repeatedly and this attack was the latest in this series of incidents," he said.

"I'm calling for those within unionism to stand shoulder to shoulder with St Mary's parishioners and use whatever influence they have to end the attacks."