Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Curtains set alight in Catholic church in Belfast

Suspected arson at Belfast Catholic Church leaves parishioners ‘deeply upset' A Catholic Bishop has condemned an arson attack on a church in north Belfast which has left the congregation "distressed and deeply upset". 

The PSNI said someone set fire to a set of 25ft-long velvet curtains worth £10,000 at St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street between 4.30pm and 5.30pm yesterday. 

The Fire and Rescue Service received a call shortly after 5pm and one appliance was dispatched to the scene.

The church has been a parades flashpoint in recent years, including in 2015 when a loyalist flute band was accused of playing a sectarian song outside the building. 

The year before, there was minor trouble as a Twelfth parade passed.

The Bishop of Down and Connor, Noel Treanor, described the clergy who serve the parish as "deeply shocked and appalled" by the attack. 

"This criminal action is a violation of the sanctity of the church and an attack upon the local community that has caused significant damage to the property and left the local congregation distressed and deeply upset.

"Places of worship hold deep significance for the entire community and for their congregations and they should not be targeted," he said.

The Bishop praised the many people who have offered messages of support to the clergy and said it demonstrates that the repercussions are felt by all in the community.