Father Joseph McVeigh, a victim of a hate crime in Lisbellaw in Fermanagh, Northern Island, has expressed his appreciation for the Protestant clergy who have expressed their support for the priest whose house was attacked on Remembrance Sunday.
"I have had messages of support from all sections of the community. The Church of Ireland Bishop and the Church of Ireland Dean here and the Church of Ireland clergywoman in Lisbellaw all expressed their concern and support," Father Joe McVeigh said.
Attackers smashed three downstairs window in his home, and police say that the acts are premeditated and can be considered a hate crime. Fr. McVeigh expressed his shock and sadness at the incident. He at first thought that robbery was the reason for what happened, but there was nothing taken.
Although Fr. McVeigh has acknowledged that some similar attacks have happened in the past, including St. Mary's Primary next door, but he thought that those days were gone. But Fr. McVeigh would actually like to have the chance to address those who attacked his home. He wants to know the reason for the attack, whether it's a personal attack on him or him being a Catholic priest, he would like to find out whatever is hurting his attackers.
Fr. McVeigh has only been living in Lisbellaw for three years, and he describes the place and the people as very friendly. He believes that the attack were just isolated incidents and in no way represent the rest of the village which he says is very loyal.
Admitting that he has always been very outspoken when it comes to injustice, Fr. McVeigh speculates that the attack might have something to do with that side of his personality. He has recently made a public stand against Brexit which has been picked up the local press and some people may have reacted negatively to his views.
"While I know that the decent people in the Unionist community are totally opposed to this kind of activity there are a few who still think it is necessary to intimidate and target some people. 'Hate' is a strong word. Hatred is a reality in our society. It has been a reality in many parts of the world and it drives people to carry out the most violent of acts."
Being intimidated is not a new thing for the Catholic priest, he related how he has already been intimidated by the British army, and also anonymous phone calls and letters. But even with those, he was never afraid to take a stand and speak out his mind.
Fr. Joe Mcveigh has written a memoir entitled "Taking A Stand", and in it he describes that as a Catholic, you cannot just and watch what is happening in the world. Being a Christian means you have to go out and help.