Northern Ireland

Third attack on an Orange hall in a week

The graffiti, which related to the 1916 Easter Rising, was daubed on the building in Rasharkin Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption The graffiti, which related to the 1916 Easter Rising, was daubed on the building in Rasharkin

Republican graffiti has been painted on the walls of an Orange hall in Rasharkin, County Antrim.

The incident follows two separate attacks on an Orange hall in County Tyrone earlier in the week.

The damage to the hall on Main Street was discovered by police at about 02:30 GMT on Saturday.

The graffiti, which related to the 1916 Easter Rising, was daubed on the exterior of the building.

The police say they are treating the incident as a hate crime.

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

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption The attack was condemned by Grand Secretary of the Orange Lodge, Drew Nelson

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

Referring to the Easter Rising graffiti, Mr Nelson said the Orange Order "recognises that this is a challenging year".

He added: "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 also condemned the attack, describing it as "senseless action" which "does not represent the views of the local community in any way".

He added: "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."

Mr Nelson appealed for no retaliation, saying: "The Orange institution very much hopes the forthcoming centenary of the Easter rebellion passes off peacefully and without any further sectarian attacks."

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