Leaders of five Christian churches in Galway have described as "loutish, criminal and outrageous" Monday evening's attack on a mosque in the city.

In a joint statement unequivocally condemning the incident as malicious and unprovoked, the local Catholic, Church of Ireland, Methodist, Presbyterian and Quaker leaders offer wholehearted support to the mosque's Imam and to what they term their "Muslim brothers and sisters throughout Ireland".

The long-established Masjid Maryam Mosque in Ballybrit was vandalised while worshippers, including children, were praying inside.

Windows were smashed in the building which is owned by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association.

The churchmen's statement underlines that the violence was perpetrated during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and during Mosque prayers. These factors "make(s) such loutish, criminal behaviour particularly outrageous," it says.

"Our city has always enjoyed excellent inter-faith relations," it continues.  "This attack serves to further our resolve, and the resolve of our faith communities, to work and pray to ensure that these relationships are further deepened.

"At this difficult time we together offer our full and wholehearted support to Imam Ibrahim Ahmad Noonan, to the Ahmadiyyan Muslim Association of Ireland and to our Muslims brothers and sisters here in Galway and throughout Ireland.

"In an increasingly secular world, we look forward to further strengthening our bonds of cooperation, friendship, respect, prayer and peace."

The statement is signed by Canon Michael McLoughlin, Administrator of the Roman Catholic diocese of Galway and Kilmacduagh; Archdeacon Gary Hastings, Rector of the Church of Ireland's Collegiate Church of Saint Nicholas; the Reverend Helen Freeburn, representing the Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church; and Richard Kimball, representing The Religious Society of Friends in Ireland also known as the Quakers.