Order seeks police meeting over attacks

Dungonnell Orange Hall, outside Antrim town
Dungonnell Orange Hall, outside Antrim town

The head of the Orange Order has called for police patrols to pay particular attention to Orange halls across the Province.

Grand Master Edward Stevenson says he is seeking an “urgent” meeting with the Chief Constable following three graffiti attacks this week. The incidents took place at Flowerhill Orange hall, Lisburn; Dungonnell hall, Crumlin; and a third Orange hall on the Mullaghglass Road in Lisburn.

Mr Stevenson said: “There needs to be a robust police response to these hate crimes – while appreciating there cannot be a 24-hour guard on every hall, there needs to be a concerted and co-ordinated policing strategy that will see individuals made amenable for these crimes.

“We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Chief Constable to discuss what can be done to halt these increasing attacks on our property.”

Meanwhile, UUP MLA Jenny Palmer challenged both Sinn Fein and the SDLP “to put their money where their mouths are and call on republicans to assist the police” in catching the criminals responsible.

The Lagan Valley woman, herself a member of the Women’s Orange Order, likened the attacks to the “cultural equivalent of ethnic cleansing”, adding: “I also appeal to the unionist community to remain calm and not rise to the bait set by these republican vandals. There should be no retaliation of any kind. Please let the police and the courts deal with these criminals.”