Policing treating church attack as sectarian hate crime

Attackers daubed "UDA" and "UFF" on the door of St Mary's church in Limavady.
Seamus McKinney

A CO Derry priest has said a sectarian attack on his church has caused great upset among parishioners.

Loyalist graffiti was daubed on the door and surrounds of St Mary's Parish Church in Limavady and paint was thrown over a crucifix in an overnight attack on Monday.

The attackers daubed “UDA” and “UFF” on the doors of the church at Irish Green Street, according to Monsignor Bryan McCanny.

Police say they are treating the attack as a sectarian hate crime.

Monsignor McCanny said the attack was discovered yesterday morning by a parishioner.

"It is disturbing and in the circumstances depressing that this sort of thing should happen at this time when we are enjoying peace,” the priest said.

East Derry SDLP MLA John Dallat said those behind the attack did not represent the people of the constituency and should not be tolerated.

“There is absolutely no place for sectarian graffiti in our society, let alone on the walls and doors of a church. This is an act of vandalism and is completely unacceptable.”

Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald said the attackers needed to be “brought to book.”

“Parishioners and locals are incensed by this disgraceful graffiti attack on St Mary's chapel which is nothing more than blatant sectarian vandalism. This attack comes after an increase in the numbers of paramilitary flags being flown and a surge in kerb painting in the town.”

Ulster Unionist representative Raymond Kennedy said it was deplorable that any place of worship should be targeted in such a way.

Mr Kennedy said: “The people of Limavady want nothing to do with antisocial behaviour of any type.”

In a separate incident in Limavady on Monday night, two vehicles were destroyed in an arson attack at the North West Regional College.

One of the vehicles belonged to NWRC while the other was privately owned. Police have appealed for information.

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