Loyalists burn schools
Loyalists burn schools

A north Belfast primary school has been targeted by loyalists for the second time in two weeks.

Two petrol bombs were thrown into the canteen at St Mary’s Star of the Sea on the Shore Road during the attack in the early hours of Wednesday. Paint was also thrown against the building during the attack.

Two weeks ago the school’s windows and walls were covered in sectarian graffiti.

Principal Kieran McGarry said he was shocked at the repeated attacks.

“We are a welcoming school. We welcome people from all backgrounds and create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding for our pupils,” he said.

“If our children see the school now, they will feel disappointed that the place they love is being attacked.

“This is not just an attack on a building. It is an attack on the whole ethos of our school.”

It was the latest in a spate of arson attacks on schools in the greater Belfast area in recent weeks. Much of Whitehouse Primary School on the Doagh Road, Newtownabbey, was destroyed in a fire earlier this month. In the west of the city, there was also a fire at a former school -- La Salle Boys’ School -- on the Glen Road.

Sinn Fein Councillor Tierna Cunningham described the early morning arson as a “sickening sectarian attack” on a place which should be a safe haven for children.

“The staff of St Mary’s has worked hard to give local children the best possible start to life through a good education and it beggars belief that anyone could target a school to vent their hatred.”

There was also an attack on a GAA clubhouse in north Antrim last weekend.

A window was broken at Glen Rovers’ clubhouse in Armoy and flammable liquid poured in and set alight. The window was in the shower block at the Glenshesk Road premises, as a result of which the fire burnt itself out, causing scorch damage only to the window frame and wall.

In a statement the committee of Glen Rovers Gaelic Athletics Club said it was an attack “on the whole community”.

“This clubhouse is used and is available for use to the whole community. The sporting clubs in this area, particularly the GAA and rugby, have built up an excellent relationship over the years,” the committee said.

“Our community thrives on its closeness and understanding of each other’s traditions and beliefs and we totally condemn, as a whole, attacks on any facilities whether it be religious, sporting or community-based.”

Meanwhile, an Orange Hall on the Kilmore Road outside Lurgan has been damaged in an arson attack on Wednesday.

CCTV equipment at the hall was disabled before roof tiles were removed and a flammable liquid poured inside the building and set alight.

Extensive damage was caused to the entrance porch, but the main hall escaped the worst of the blaze.

A spokesman for the Orange Order described it as “yet another attack on Protestant culture”.

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© 2009 Irish Republican News