McCandless angered by anti refugee graffiti in Coleraine

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Coleraine Ulster Unionist Councillor William McCandless has condemned those responsible for a graffiti attack on the Salvation Army church in Coleraine.

Councillor McCandless said: “The sentiments expressed in the graffiti bring shame on whoever was responsible for it.

“No-one chooses to become a refugee.

“The fact is that thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes due to persecution, threat of violence and even death.

“Their presence in Europe is a symptom of the real problem, which is massive instability in the region and countries from which they come. The refugees require our help and understanding until such times as the brutal regimes they are fleeing – such as ISIS – have been defeated and they can return home.

“I am particularly angry that a Church should have been targeted.

“The Salvation Army is a Christian denominational church and is widely recognised as a charitable organisation.

“It is known as a social services organisation which responds to disasters, feeding the homeless and running thrift stores. They have always included social justice and charitable work as a key part of its ministry and they are recognised worldwide as a charitable organisation which exists to help others and provides aid to millions of people every year.

“Their work commenced in Coleraine in 1886 and they were granted freedom of the borough in 2004 by the then Mayor Cllr. Robert McPherson.

“They are certainly a church who are involved with their communities.

“Their mission to preach the gospel of Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination is very relevant in these times and it is extremely distressing to them that they have been attacked in this manner.”