Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Maolíosa McHugh has offered his support to the congregation of Christ Church on Infirmary Road, after it was damaged following act of vandalism.

Speaking ahead of a visit later this afternoon to the Church, Mayor Cllr McHugh said he was deeply shocked and horrified on hearing about the attack and was keen to reach out to Bishop Good, Archdeacon Miller and the Church congregation to offer the support of the people of the City and District.

The Mayor described the incident as 'a despicable act of wanton destruction' and offered his sympathy to the Church of Ireland clergy and parishoners. He appealed to the public who have any information to report it to the authorities.

“I was absolutely disgusted to hear about this attack on a place of worship. It is disgraceful that anyone would want to vandalise and destroy a church in this way and my heart goes out to the local community who are directly affected by this. I was particularly annoyed to hear that the stained glass windows and a prized organ were among the items damaged in the attack. This is an attack on the whole community and there is no support whatsoever for this type of vandalism and I would encourage anyone who has any information to come forward so the culprits can be brought to book.”

The Mayor will be visiting the Church later today to see for himself the damage and to offer his support and assistance to the local community.

Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion also condemned the break-in

The Foyle MP said: "This break-in and wanton vandalism at Christchurch in Derry was disgraceful and I condemn it utterly.

"All places of worship should be treated with respect and any attack on them is an act of sacrilege.

"Not only was the historic church organ vandalised but other sacred items were also destroyed.

"Those responsible for this mindless attack are not representative of the people of this city and have nothing to offer society.

"My thoughts are with Archdeacon Robert Miller and all the parishioners at Christchurch.

"I know that this city will rally round and support them in any way we can at this difficult time.

"I would also encourage anyone with information on this attack to bring it forward to the PSNI."

SDLP Derry Councillor and Deputy Mayor John Boyle described the attack as 'repugnant and sickening'.

Councillor Boyle said: "I am saddened to hear of the break in and vandalism at the Christ Church in the city. This is repugnant behaviour and it is sickening to think that the church has been targeted in this way.

“Churches perform an important role in our society and an attack of this nature is a challenge to the entire community. It’s my understanding that the church organ was damaged in the attack. This has caused a lot of upset for church users of all denominations and has been particularly distressing to members of the congregation.

“My thoughts are with the clergy and congregation of this long established place of worship. I have no doubt that the entire community will rally round to provide support at this time."

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