Sectarian graffiti daubed on church and homes in west Belfast
POLITICIANS have united in condemnation after sectarian graffiti, including paramilitary slogans, was daubed on the walls of a church and homes in west Belfast.
The perimeter wall of a church, a residential home specialising in the care of dementia patients, garden walls and fences were among properties targeted in the Springfield and Highfield areas early on Monday.
St Columba's Church and the Cairnmartin Court facility in the Ballygomartin Road area were daubed with 'IRA' and 'KAH'.
Police said they were treating the spate of criminal damage as a sectarian hate crime and would be examining CCTV footage.
DUP councillor Frank McCoubrey said it was an attempt to "ratchet up tensions" ahead of the Whiterock and other parades.
"This is a disgraceful sectarian attack which has damaged the local Church of Ireland, residents' homes and sheltered accommodation," he said.
"This is a settled area with long-term residents and there is no history of such attacks.
"I would hope there would be no tit-for-tat response, which is what those who carried it out clearly want to see."
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey said those responsible have "achieved nothing but upset to the Woodvale community".
"They are not representative of the republican and nationalist community.
"All these acts of mindless and sectarian vandalism need to stop immediately."
SDLP MLA Alex Attwood also said it was "a deliberate attempt to raise tensions in this community".
“Those who cling to the past and attempt to hold our communities back must be challenged.
"I would urge everyone to cooperate with the police investigation and for anyone with information about this graffiti to bring it forward."