St Matthews attacked again
St Matthews attacked again

There were clashes in east Belfast on Wednesday night after a Catholic church was defaced by loyalists for a second time in a week.

At least one petrol bomb was thrown during the trouble in the Lower Newtownards Road area on Wednesday night.

Fireworks were also thrown as nationalists from the Short Strand enclave clashed with loyalists at the notorious sectarian interface.

During the early hours of Wednesday morning, St Matthew’s Catholic Church at the edge of the nationalist area was daubed with red, white and blue paint.

It was the second time this week that the church on the Newtownards Road was targeted.

The church was famously defended by the Provisional IRA against a loyalist gun attack in 1970, said to have been their first military action.

Sinn Féin representative for East Belfast Niall Ó Donnghaile slammed those responsible.

“This attack is deplorable,” he said.

“It comes only days after an earlier attack on the chapel which caused considerable damage.

“Parishioners going to mass on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, arrived to see red, white a blue paint daubed on the chapel.

“Those behind the attacks are a minority within their community and representatives from throughout East Belfast have been proactive in making it very clear that nobody, whatever side of the interface the live on, want or support these attacks.

“Again, today, we are echoing that call. Whoever is responsible needs to brought to justice and I would call for anyone with information to bring it to the PSNI.”

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