Crime scene at Benburb pastoral center

Local politician in Co. Tyrone is outraged and shocked at the attack on a pastoral center in Benburb on Sunday, November 14.

SDLP MLA Tommy Gallagher described the attack as "nasty and vicious" and has said it is very lucky "someone wasn't injured."

The arson attack which destroyed four cars outside the Servite Priory in Benburb on Sunday morning caused extensive damage to the outside of the building and to nearby cars.

Gallagher said, "Somebody lobbed a brick through one of the car windows and set the car alight and, of course, the fire spread to adjoining cars and to the building."

What was more disturbing, said Gallagher, was that church goers turned up for Mass on Sunday morning, "as they do every day, and they just found this horrific scene and nobody knows why it happened."

He said, "Certainly it's the first time there's been an attack of this kind. All through the Troubles this monastery was regarded as a safe haven."

The building which is owned by the Catholic Servite Order also doubles as a rehabilitation center for people suffering from drug and alcohol problems.

"It was just by the grace of God that there wasn't more serious damage and there weren't any injuries," he added.

Joining Gallagher in expressing his disgust was Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliot who called the arson attack "disgraceful" and "shameful."

"I join the police in calling for any witnesses or people with any information to contact them," he said.