Irish tricolour is hoisted above rural Orange lodge

The Irish flag atop the hall
The Irish flag atop the hall
Share this article

An Irish tricolour has been hoisted above a rural Orange hall on the north coast.

It was spotted this morning at Ballintoy Orange Lodge, flying in place of the Union flag.

The lodge has around 30 members (who were on parade in Ballymoney today) and was renovated last year.

It is thought to be among the oldest in Northern Ireland; until renovation last year, it was still lit with gas lamps, for example.

Wesley Craig, the Worshipful Master the lodge (LOL803), said: “I have spoken to many people from Ballintoy since this hate crime was carried out and they, like the lodge members, are extremely disappointed.

“This year was no different to any other: residents and tourists from all sections of the community came out to see the band and lodge members walk through the village on the Twelfth morning and back again on the return leg that same evening.

“I would call on our locally elected representatives, from all parties, to roundly condemn this attack; this is neither respectful nor tolerant – two wishes repeated almost daily by Sein Fein, the SDLP and Alliance.

“Extensive renovation work was carried out on the hall last year and as a result of that we have been able to let out the adjoining living quarters to tourists and visitors from across the world.

“We are trying to promote our beautiful area and give people the opportunity to spend their holiday in the heart of the north coast. What, then, must these very people think when they learn of this attack? The area and every business that relies on their spend suffers.

“This is a tightknit community and we all have to live together.”

The PSNI said the Union was suspected to have been stolen from the property in the Whitepark Road area between 9:30pm on Thursday and 8:20am on Friday.

It is being treated as a sectarian motivated hate crime.