Rural Co Londonderry Orange hall damaged in attempted arson attack

Ballyneal Orange hall near Magherafelt which was targeted in an attempted arson attack
Ballyneal Orange hall near Magherafelt which was targeted in an attempted arson attack

An Orange hall in Co Londonderry has been damaged in an attempted arson attack.

The premises at Brookmount Road, Ballyneal near Magherafelt sustained minor scorch damage after flammable liquid was poured around the front and emergency doors and set alight.

It is thought the attempted arson took place some time between Tuesday evening and early on Wednesday morning.

The incident took place just one week after the Strawletterdallon Orange hall in Co Tyrone was also damaged in a sectarian vandalism attack.

A spokesman for the Orange Order has condemned those responsible for the Ballyneal damage.

He said: “This is clearly a sinister development and a blatant attempt to destroy Orange property in a rural and isolated area of Co Londonderry.

“It is extremely fortunate that the perpetrators – whose premeditated intent was destruction – were slapdash and amateurish in their actions, otherwise the consequences could have been much more severe.

“The building is used not only by the local lodge but also an accordion band, and like other such properties, plays an integral and vital role in community life.”

The spokesman appealed for anyone with information to contact the PSNI immediately, and added: “This unfortunate episode once again underlines the fact that there remains a minority in our society intent on maintaining a legacy of hatred against the Orange Institution, and who are still prepared to attack our properties and our traditions. They must not be allowed to succeed.”

Since the start of the year, there has been a total of six attacks on Orange property reported in Northern Ireland.