Co Tyrone Orange hall attack ‘sectarian and filled with hatred’

Republican graffiti on Andrews Wood School House which is used by Timpany LOL 889
Republican graffiti on Andrews Wood School House which is used by Timpany LOL 889

Sectarian graffiti has been painted on an Orange hall in Co Tyrone in an overnight attack.

Police are appealing for information following the criminal damage at the hall in the Ballagh Road area of Fivemiletown, some time between Monday night and the early hours of Tuesday.

Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Lord Morrow said this was the third time Andrews Wood School House, used by Timpany LOL 889, has been targeted in a sectarian attack in as many years.

“The hall had windows smashed in 2013 and last year also had republican graffiti painted on its walls,” he said.

Lord Morrow said those responsible for the graffiti “are clearly sectarian and filled with hatred”.

“Roman Catholic and Protestant neighbours work well with each other in this area and the majority of people don’t want these sectarian acts.”

He added that over recent months “rural Protestant families in the area have had their homes targeted and another lodge has had a flagpole broken down three times in the last six weeks”.

“Northern Ireland should be moving forward because that’s what people want, but there seems to be a group of people who are intent on stirring up tension and hatred. I trust these acts will be condemned by everyone,” he added.

Fivemiletown District Master Mark Robinson said lodge members had just invested in new windows and doors for the hall “and now they will have to be replaced again”.

He appealed for nationalist leaders to urge “those behind these attacks to wise up”.

Sinn Féin MLA Bronwyn McGahan said: “The attack on Timpany Orange hall was wrong and should be condemned.”

She added that it was “not representative of the views of the local community” and appealed for anyone with information to bring it to the PSNI.

Four attacks in single July week

Four Orange Halls were attacked by vandals in a single week at the start of last month.

Graffiti was daubed on the walls of the hall in the Main Street area of Rasharkin, which police treated as a hate crime. Local Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay slammed what he described as “a mindless attack”.

Spouting was also damaged at Belleek Orange hall near Whitecross in Co Armagh and an arson attack destroyed Ballytyrone Orange hall in Loughgall. Clifton Street Orange hall in Belfast was also targeted in an attempted petrol bomb attack.

Speaking last month, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge, Drew Nelson, blamed republicans.

It was evident that republicans were “displaying their hatred” and were also “attempting to provoke loyalists to retaliate ahead of the Twelfth” he said.