Fourth attack on Rathcoole centre

Published Thursday, 14 August 2014
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A community centre in Newtownabbey has been attacked in what police are describing as a hate crime.

Sectarian graffiti was painted on walls of The Dunanney Centre, in the Rathmullan Drive area of Rathcoole overnight.

It was discovered at 8.45am on Thursday morning.

It is not the first time the centre has been attacked

A petrol bombing on Saturday, 12 July caused considerable damage, while at Easter, the boiler house was destroyed.

Reacting Pat Hutchinson, centre manager, said: "It beggars belief that this is the fourth time in so many months that the centre has been attacked.

"A month ago, it was firebombed and this morning, when I drove in - the sectarian graffiti on the side of the building.

"It is very frightening and very personal to a lot of staff and clients who use our centre."

She said that the incidents are sending out the wrong message that the centre is not a safe environment.

Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan said that he is outraged at the senseless, mindless attack.

"The centre is a hub for the community and houses one of the busiest Citizens' Advice offices in Northern Ireland. It is also a base for the really effective Bryson Future Skills programme which equips young people for meaningful employment.

"These persistent attacks mean that my constituents are continually disadvantaged.

"At a time when we are slowly crawling out of the dark days of recession - who imagines that it is a good idea to target a key community resource?"

Alliance Councillor Billy Webb said: "I am absolutely horrified at yet another attack on the Dunanney Centre. This is a direct attack on the whole community and those behind it must be brought to justice.

"The Dunanney centre is a vital resource for everyone living in the Rathcoole area and they are fed up with being held to ransom by the faceless few who decide to strike out against them.

"The work to repair damage caused by the last attack has not yet been finished. Those behind this on-going campaign of intimidation must be stopped. There is no place for thuggish behaviour in our society and I would urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible."

Mayor of Newtownabbey Alderman Thomas Hogg said: "The Council fully supports the work of the Dunanney Centre and the invaluable resource it has become to the local community .

"Many vital services such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, employability programmes for young people and older people's services are provided through this well respected and much needed facility.

"Generating income through rental and room hire, is essential to keep the centre functioning.

"The Council condemns the recent attacks on such a valued asset to the community and asks that they come to an end," the DUP politician said.

Police are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Chrissy in Ballymena wrote (167 days ago):
Michael do ypu say the same about the acores of orange halls that have had secterian grifitti written on them over the years? No excuse for thos sort of nonsense from either side.
JJ in Belfast wrote (168 days ago):
This hatred is done to try and divide the community but hopefully it will bring the people from all traditions together to condemn all these attacks.
Michael in Templepatrick wrote (168 days ago):
J in Northern Ireland wrote (168 days ago):
Eddie in Belfast : that is the funniest thing I have read today! The Irony is almost poetic! You Clown!
BC in Co Antrim wrote (169 days ago):
People doing this need to wise up and get a grip of themselves. The only people who suffer are the people of the area. Shouldn't matter what religion the staff. They carry out work on behalf of the Rathcoole community and should be thanked for it. There is no justification for this whatsoever. I came from Rathcoole and am proud to say that, but you cannot defend this.
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