Three sectarian attacks on Orange halls in a week

The Orange hall in Rasharkin
The Orange hall in Rasharkin
Three sectarian attacks on Orange halls in a week

An Orange hall in Rasharkin, County Antrim, has been attacked overnight, making it the third sectarian attack on Orange halls in just one week.

Graffiti relating to the Easter Rising in 1916 appeared on the wall of the small building on Main Street in the village.

The police are treating the attack as a hate crime.

Two separate attacks on an Orange hall in County Tyrone had been reported earlier in the week. 

Inspector Samuel McConnell said: “Shortly before 2.30am this morning a police patrol discovered that graffiti had been painted on the walls of an Orange Hall. 

“This incident is being treated as a hate crime and I would ask anyone who noticed any unusual activity in the area or who has any information to contact police at Coleraine Station on 101. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Orange Lodge, said: "It is very concerning that there has been three attacks on two Orange halls over the course of recent days.

"It is evident that there are those who display their hatred of what the Orange institution stands for by shamelessly attacking our properties.

"The Orange institution very much hopes the forthcoming centenary of the Easter rebellion passes off peacefully and without any further sectarian attacks.

 "We sincerely hope people will not use the centenary of the Easter Rising in a few weeks as an excuse and smokescreen to attack the symbolic buildings of their Protestant neighbours.

"Nonetheless, we would be very confident these attacks on our halls are emanating from a very tiny group of individuals, and are in no way representative of the vast majority of the wider community who are vehemently opposed to such criminality."

Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay condemned what he called a "senseless action".

He said: "The local community want to move forward and do not support his type of behaviour.

"I would urge anyone with any information on this incident to bring it forward to the PSNI."