Northern Ireland

Union flag stolen, homes vandalised in 'hate crime' attacks

George Duddy
Image caption Cllr George Duddy, an Orange Order district master, said it was an attempt at sectarian intimidation

Graffiti has been sprayed on the homes of a leading Orangeman and a bandsman in County Londonderry overnight.

The Orangeman, Coleraine District Master George Duddy, said a union flag was also stolen from the rear of his Drumaquill Road house in Coleraine.

The Orange Order said Mr Duddy was the fourth senior Orangemen whose home had been attacked in the past three weeks.

Police said they are treating attacks in Drumaquill Road, Coleraine, and Blakes Road, Macosquin, as hate crimes.

Mr Duddy, who is also a DUP councillor, said he believed the attacks on his house and that of the Macosquin bandsman were an attempt at "sectarian intimidation".

'Spate of attacks'

The words 'say goodbye to the rag' were daubed across the Coleraine councillor's garden wall.

Mr Duddy said he believed he had been targeted because of his religion, his membership of the Orange Order and also because of his links to the DUP.

In a statement, the Orange Order said the attack on Mr Duddy's home was the "latest in a spate of attacks on senior members of the institution in the Coleraine area".

"These deliberate attacks have occurred over the period of the last three weeks with all four members holding office at district level or above.

"Given such a coincidence, it seems we can draw no other conclusion than that these individuals are being targeted solely because of their membership of the Orange institution," a spokesman for the order said.

In a separate weekend attack in Newry, County Down, vandals attempted to set an Orange hall on fire on Downshire Road in the city.

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