Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan "greatly disturbed" by vandalisation of Galway mosque
A Garda investigation is underway.
Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan has condemned the vandalisation of the Ahmadiyya Mosque located to the east of Galway city.
The incident occurred some time following the conclusion of evening prayers on Sunday night, 28 July.
Windows and locks were broken, while offices were damaged and security camera footage taken.
It is the second time that the mosque has been targeted, having previously been vandalised in 2017.
A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána confirmed to JOE that a "considerable" amount of criminal damage was caused to the premises.
No arrests have been made and a burglary investigation has been opened.
Minister Flanagan has condemned the disturbance.
"I'm greatly disturbed by news of an attack on Galway's Ahmadiyya Mosque in the early hours of this morning," Flanagan wrote on Twitter on Monday afternoon.
"A Garda investigation is underway and I urge anyone with information to come forward.
"I want to reassure worshippers that their freedom of religion will be protected."
I’m greatly disturbed by news of an attack on Galway’s Ahmadiyya Mosque in the early hours of this morning. A Garda investigation is underway and I urge anyone with information to come forward. I want to reassure worshippers that their freedom of religion will be protected. pic.twitter.com/skMIWmzHsO
— Charlie Flanagan (@CharlieFlanagan) July 29, 2019
Speaking with JOE on Monday afternoon, Labour councillor and former Mayor of Galway Niall McNelis offered his full support to those affected.
"The Ahmadiyya Muslim association are a very strong party of our community in Galway and so we're very saddened to see this happen," he said.
"Any church or any place of worship being damaged is something that we would deplore straight away. The community has the full support of everybody in Galway."
McNelis noted that he doesn't believe that the incident was a co-ordinated racially motivated attack.
"My gut feeling tells me that it's just a load of kids that have no idea how serious of an attack it is," he said.
"Unfortunately, you're going to have a load of kids doing stupid things like this. I hope it's a bunch of kids that did something stupid and don't realise the consequence of what they have done, and the symbolism of what it looks like.
"I don't think it is the case of a racial attack. The Ahmadiyya Muslim association have regularly opened their doors to everybody in the community. They are very much into promoting peace. They reject violence and terrorism, regularly.
"It's sickening to see that this has happened in your town, but my gut tells me that it's just a bunch of kids that did something stupid and didn't realise what they were doing," McNelis added.