Northern Ireland

Rathcoole community centre: Fourth attack on premises

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe Dunanney centre has been the target for petrol bomb and graffiti attacks four times since April

A community centre in the Rathcoole estate in Newtownabbey has been attacked for the fourth time since April.

The Dunanney centre was daubed with sectarian graffiti on Wednesday evening.

Work had only just begun on repairing damage caused by a petrol bomb attack in July.

Police are treating the latest incident at the centre on Wednesday evening as a hate crime.

The centre, which currently has no heating following fire damage to the boiler house, will be closed to clients on Thursday.

'Target'

Dunanney centre chairwoman Pat Hutchinson said: "This is very frightening for the centre staff and also for the people who use this building.

"This is the fourth attack in as many months.

"We have absolutely no idea why somebody would target a centre that looks after people, from babies to pensioners, and we are very much the heart of this community.

"It beggars belief why anybody would do this to us."

The premises houses one of Northern Ireland's busiest citizens advice bureau as well as computer courses and work placement programmes for young people.

Local people said the attacks on the community centre were not the work of any recognised organisation, but were being carried out by a small number of people determined to create a climate of fear.