Northern Ireland

Three Orange halls are attacked in Tyrone

Dergina Orange Hall
Image caption Dergina Orange Hall was attacked in the early hours of Saturday morning

The PSNI are investigating four attacks on three Orange halls in County Tyrone.

Windows at Strawletterdallon Orange Hall outside Newtownstewart were smashed on Friday.

Early on Sunday, it was reported that an oil drum had been placed against a door of the same hall and set alight causing damage to the door and wall.

Dergina Orange Hall outside Aughnacloy had its windows smashed early on Saturday.

Paint was also thrown over the door of the hall, which was built in 2009.

A few miles away, graffiti was painted on Mullnahunch Orange Hall.

The secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Drew Nelson, said it was very fortunate the hall in Strawletterdallon was not destroyed.

"A passing motorist saw smoke coming from the hall around 9.00am and raised the alarm. Without his quick thinking, the hall would probably have been burned to the ground," he said.

'Mindless'

"A tyre was placed at the emergency exit at the rear of the building and set on fire. Oil had been poured over the tyre to accelerate the fire. We are very fortunate the hall was not destroyed."

Mr Nelson said the order was "very concerned" about the apparent upsurge in attacks in Tyrone.

"It seems too much of a coincidence that we have had three halls attacked in the county over the weekend.

"We would also appeal to the police to devote more resources to the detection of those responsible for these attacks."

Ulster Unionist leader and Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Tom Elliott said that "mindless thugs intent on creating community division" were responsible for the attack on Dergina Orange Hall.

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