Hundreds rally over Rathcoole attacks

Published Monday, 18 August 2014
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Hundreds of people have taken part in a rally at a community centre in Newtownabbey which has been targeted in a series of recent attacks.

Sectarian graffiti was painted on walls of The Dunanney Centre, at Rathmullan Drive in the Rathcoole estate, Co Antrim, last week in the latest of four incidents over the past few months.

It comes after a petrol bombing on Saturday, 12 July, caused considerable damage to the building, while at Easter the boiler house was destroyed.

Managers said the attacks have cost around £100,000 and have put the centre's future in jeopardy.

People involved in Monday afternoon's action have called for those behind the vandalism to stop as they are damaging the community.

DUP MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds said: "The community are coming out today to endorse the work that goes on here and to say they're utterly appalled at these attacks.

"We're not clear who is behind it but this is a centre that's here to serve everyone without fear or favour and it should be left alone to do that."

The Dunanney Centre has been described as a vital resource used by thousands of local people.

It acts as a hub for the community, houses one of Northern Ireland's busiest Citizens' Advice offices and also offers job and benefits advice.

Representatives said they are pleased to see the rally and have appealed to those responsible for the attacks to stop and let the centre get on with serving the people the Rathcoole area.

Centre manager Vicky Moore said: "We're absolutely delighted with the turnout here.

"The message is very clear, the community in Rathcoole doesn't support what's happening to the centre but also they don't reflect the wider views of whoever attacked us in this way."

Police have appealed for anyone with information on the attacks to come forward.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Stephen armstrong in Rathcoole wrote (165 days ago):
The good honest hard working people of Rathcoole are again put into the fore by a few ignorant and ininformed people "Taigs out "??? Im a catholic and have lived in this beautiful estate for over 2 decades My friends and neighbours know that i may not be of the same faith but i stand beside them against these ignorant people I can assure people all around this island that the vast majority of people within this eatate welcome people of all races and creeds, and of all religious beliefs before this scum bags who claim to be Loyalists
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