Thursday, 3 March 2011

St Matthews Attacked

This morning, as I have sadly done numerous times before, I ventured to St Matthews Chapel having just received a phone call to say that the Church had been attacked.

As we all know St Matthews is no stranger to attacks and I have blogged on some of them in the past.

Obviously this paint attack was particularly upsetting to those attending Mass this morning, who, despite the countless attacks on this beautiful building over the years, never get used to it. Of particular concern to the Parish is the damage caused to the spotlights, which nightly light up the stunning edifice of the Chapel, which were smashed and the cost of repair will no doubt run into the thousands.

Here's a copy of the press release I issued today and our photo shows PUP Leader Brian Ervine who, along with party colleague called to see the damage caused to themselves.

That small gesture, alongside the occasion when myself, Joe O'Donnell and Bernie Black went across to the memorial on the Newtonards Road, show that both communities want these attacks to stop and stop now.

Ó Donnghaile condemns attack on St Matthews Chapel

Sinn Féin representative for east Belfast Niall Ó Donnghaile has slammed those responsible for an attack on St Mathews Chapel last night and has called for community leaders from all sections of the community to show leadership in order to send a clear message to those behind it.

The church had paint thrown at it and several of its exterior spotlights smashed, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Speaking this morning Mr Ó Donnghaile said:

“This attack in wholly unjustifiable and has caused considerable damage. As many parishioners came to mass this morning they were understandably very upset at the damage caused.

“These type of attacks are unfortunately a sporadic occurrence with particular groupings of young people from both sections of our community, who are well known to the PSNI, causing damage and upset on both sides of the interface.

“I along with other community representatives within the Short Strand did not back away from our responsibilities when the local memorial on the Newtownards Road was attacked and vandalised. I was glad to welcome Brian Ervine, leader of the Progressive Unionist Party to St Matthews so he could see the damage for himself; I commend him for that stand he has taken today and I believe that we can collectively send a message on behalf of our communities that we want this to stop and stop now.” CRÍOCH

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