Banbridge Orange Hall attacks were hate crime says PSNI

Tanvally Orange Hall on the Rathfriland to Banbridge Road was attacked some time between Thursday evening and dawn on Friday 1st July morning.
Tanvally Orange Hall on the Rathfriland to Banbridge Road was attacked some time between Thursday evening and dawn on Friday 1st July morning.

Police are treating sectarian attacks on two Orange halls the Banbridge area as hate crimes.

Republican graffiti and paint was daubed on the exterior of both Tanvally and Corbet halls during the early hours of Friday morning. Given the close proximity of both properties, which are less than five miles apart, the order believes the criminal acts were connected.

Tanvally Orange Hall on the main Rathfriland to Banbridge Road

Tanvally Orange Hall on the main Rathfriland to Banbridge Road

The double incident follows an attempted arson attack at Muckery Orange hall, Co Armagh, last weekend. A total of 12 Orange halls have been targeted so far this year.

Condemning the Banbridge attacks, an Orange Order spokesman said: “These were clearly coordinated and deliberate criminal acts against the Orange Institution and what it stands for. The mindless morons responsible for such callous sectarianism ought to be ashamed of their actions and must be held accountable.

“Their sinister exploits are in no way reflective of the excellent community relations in the Banbridge area, and indeed the members of both lodges are particularly active in their locality. The entire community must now unite in condemnation of these incidents.

He added: “This double attack is particularly sickening coming on the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Such cowardly crime is in stark contrast to the gallant bravery shown by those who paid the supreme sacrifice 100 years ago.”

The Orange Institution has appealed for anyone with any information in relation to the Tanvally and Corbet attacks to contact the police as a matter of urgency.

Police said they are investigating.

A PSNI spokesman said paint was thrown at both Tanvally Orange Hall on Glebe Road, Annaclone, and Corbet Orange Hall on Drone Hill Road, Corbet and that slogans were also daubed on the walls.

Chief Inspector Davy Beck said: “We are investigating both incidents as sectarian hate crimes and we would like to hear from anyone with information. Please call 101, quoting reference 178 01/07/16.”