‘Sinister’ arson attack on Orange Hall

Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 26th February 2017

General view of Altnaveigh Orange Hall in Newry, Co. Armagh, which was damaged in an overnight arson attack. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 26th February 2017 General view of Altnaveigh Orange Hall in Newry, Co. Armagh, which was damaged in an overnight arson attack. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

An Orange Order hall has been damaged in a suspected arson attack.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said a number of tyres were placed against the rear of the building on Martins Lane in Newry, Co Down, and set on fire.

Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 26th February 2017

General view of Altnaveigh Orange Hall in Newry, Co. Armagh, which was damaged in an overnight arson attack. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 26th February 2017 General view of Altnaveigh Orange Hall in Newry, Co. Armagh, which was damaged in an overnight arson attack. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Damage was caused to the eves of the property and there was smoke damage inside.

Police said they are working to establish a motive for the incident and appealed for anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity or may have information about the incident to come forward.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said the attack on Altnaveigh Hall was the third arson incident on property linked to the organisation this year.

A spokesman said: “This is a truly sickening incident and one which clearly had a clear sectarian motive. The moronic hate-filled individuals responsible are a blight on the local community and ought to be ashamed of their actions.

Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 26th February 2017

General view of Altnaveigh Orange Hall in Newry, Co. Armagh, which was damaged in an overnight arson attack. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 26th February 2017 General view of Altnaveigh Orange Hall in Newry, Co. Armagh, which was damaged in an overnight arson attack. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

“Such naked bigotry should not be acceptable - yet, the continuous cycle of attacks on Orange property is reflective of the unending demonisation of the Institution, still very much prevalent in today’s society. This is intolerable and must not be allowed to continue.”

Danny Kennedy, Ulster Unionist Assembly candidate for Newry and Armagh, and Councillor David Taylor have also expressed their disgust at an arson attack on Altnaveigh Orange Hall in Newry.

Danny Kennedy said: “I condemn this hate crime which is deliberately timed by some republicans to raise tensions in the area in the run up to the election. The strategic position of Altnaveigh and its history clearly continues to play on the twisted and bigoted minds of those responsible for this attack.”

Councillor David Taylor said: “The attack on the Orange Hall is a very sinister attempt to intimidate members of the local Orange Lodge. Altnaveigh Orange Lodge is very well renowned and widely respected within the Newry area and all right thinking people will offer strong condemnation of the attack.

“I am very confident that the members of Altnaveigh Orange Lodge will stand firm against this intimidation and appeal for anyone with information on the attack to report it to the police as soon as possible.”