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Teenager charged after Coleraine Orange Hall attack

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The smashing of a war memorial stone and shredding of wreaths at an Orange Hall near Coleraine has been described as “one of the lowest actions anyone can take”.

An 18 year-old man will appear in court today charged with criminal damage in relation to the incident.

Another male and two women aged 19 and 20, who were arrested as part of the investigation have since been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

It is the second attack on the war memorial at Killowen Orange Hall in 10 months.

Police said they are treating the incident at around 9pm on Friday at Killowen Purple Heroes LOL 930’s Shuttle Hill premises as a hate crime.

A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said this latest attack demonstrates that a section of Northern Ireland’s population lacks the tolerance and respect required for a shared future.

“The lodge members quite rightly see this as an attack on their community at Killowen and on the memory of those who fought and died in service, not least those members of the lodge who served in the First World War,” he said.

“While many people talk about a shared future, this sort of attack reminds us that there are people in our society who have a long journey to make. They are consumed with hate.

“Attacking the memory of those who gave their life in conflict is one of the lowest actions that anyone can take.

“This systematic and premeditated attack needs to result in immediate police attention and action to apprehend those responsible and bring them to justice.”

He called on political, church and civic representatives to condemn those responsible for the attack.

East Londonderry DUP MLA Adrian McQuillan said it was an act of sectarian vandalism.

He said the timing, in the centenary year of the beginning of the First World War, is “sick beyond belief”.

“More Orange Halls since the ceasefires and Belfast Agreement have been attacked than ever during the ‘Troubles’,” he said.

“It is therefore sad to see yet another act of sectarianism as part of an ongoing campaign of hatred against the Orange by Republicans occur in Co. Londonderry this weekend. This must stop.”

The attack in May last year was similar to the weekend incident, with the memorial stone damaged and wreaths ripped up.

Speaking at the time Coleraine District Master George Duddy termed it a “heinous act”.

The stone was replaced a month later with a special dedication service.

 

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