TWO Catholic churches have been damaged in sectarian attacks in Co Antrim. Grafitti was daubed on St Peter's Church on Rock Road, Stoneyford and on St Joseph's Church on Kilcorig Road in Glenavy in the early hours of Saturday.
Parishioners cleaned up the paint damage yesterday prior to Sunday Mass.
On Friday a war memorial in Stoneyford had paint thrown over it. Police said the latest attacks are linked and are being treated as hate crimes.
Sinn Féin Glenavy councillor Mary Kate Quinn said attacks on all places of worship or community facilities are wrong.
"There is no place in Glenavy or Stoneyford for this sectarian bile and I am sure the community will rally around the local priests in order to have the churches restored to their former state," she said.
SDLP Lisburn councillor Pat Catney such attacks were "a backward step".
"Either of these special sites, whether they be a place of worship or remembrance, must be respected by both sides of the community," he said.
Alliance councillor Brian Dornan said: "Any attack on a place of worship is completely unacceptable."
Ulster Unionist councillor Robbie Butler said: "We have witnessed attacks on the war memorial in Stoneyford and now attacks on these churches.
"These are actions by a small bundle of bigots designed to stoke up sectarian tensions but they will fail."
PICTURES: Mal McCann
* CLEAN-UP BEGINS: Parishioners clean graffiti painted on St Peter's Church on Rock Road, Stoneyford, Co Antrim, at the weekend. Inset, some of the sectarian slogans