The Rev Linda Cronin, rector of Glenavy, says she has been overwhelmed by the support of the community following a graffiti attack on St Aidan’s Parish Hall earlier this week.
The slogans `Republicans Against Drugs’ and `RAD’ were dubbed on the wall of the building and also on the fence of the property overnight on Monday/Tuesday.
The incident was caught on CCTV and has been passed on to the police.
Linda was instituted as rector of Glenavy last February, just a few weeks before the Covid-19 lockdown. Services have been held online ever since, and plans to reopen for services last Sunday (September 13) were put back as Glenavy is one of the Northern Ireland areas currently under tighter coronavirus restrictions.
Linda, who moved to Connor Diocese from Telford in Shropshire, said the incident had been ‘most disappointing.’
“I’ve only been here for six months and this is my first negative experience,” she said. “But we as a community in Glenavy are pulling together as we have done throughout Covid, and we won’t be deterred. We’ll get this cleaned up together and move on.”
The attack was condemned by local Alliance councillor David Honeyford, who said: “I feel absolutely gutted for our local Church of Ireland family to have their hall abused by local thugs.
“The Rev Linda Cronin has worked tirelessly and been a key member of local team throughout this pandemic, working for everyone in Glenavy and the surrounding area and as a community we thank her and the parish for their help.
“I have spoken to Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and asked them to remove the graffiti as soon as possible, and I urge anyone with information on this incident to contact police with it immediately.”
Sinn Féin councillor Gary McCleave also the condemned incident, saying: “There is no place for this type of activity in our society.”
Linda said: “I have been overwhelmed by the support of the community from all walks of life.”