Attack on Downpatrick Baptist Church 'wrong and unacceptable – Caitríona Ruane MLA
Ms Ruane said: "Those responsible for destroying a place of worship in Downpatrick have shown their absolute contempt for the local community who are understandably angry and frustrated at what has happened.
"My thoughts are with the Baptist community in Downpatrick who will be devastated by the destruction of their church but I have no doubt that with the full support of local people they will in time get over this loss.
"What happened in Downpatrick at the weekend is wrong and unacceptable," she concluded.
Cllr Clarke MLA echoed Ms Ruane's comments and said that the arson attack was an attempt to raise tensions at the height of the marching season.
"Everyone has a right to practise their religion unhindered and this shameful attack on the Baptist community in Downpatrick in no way reflects the views of the vast majority of local people.
"At a time when we are attempting to reconcile people throughout the north there is a minority within both communities who are determined to raise sectarian tensions and I would like to offer Sinn Féin's support for the Baptist community in Downpatrick."