Orange Order online initiative to stop attacks on halls

A screengrab of one of the Fivemiletown District Orange information videos
A screengrab of one of the Fivemiletown District Orange information videos
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Two videos aimed at reducing the number of sectarian attacks on Orange halls have been produced by members of the institution in Co Tyrone.

The pair of short animations explain how many of the facilities have developed into community hubs which are being utilised for everything from the traditional lodge meetings and band practice to quiz nights and birthday parties.

The Community Relations Council backed the Fivemiletown District initiative and the videos have been viewed thousands of times since they were posted online at the weekend.

Introducing the first clip, the narrator said the informative “outreach project” began after two Orange halls were targeted in the Clogher Valley.

A message on the Fivemiletown District Facebook page states: “The first video details the community benefit of the Orange hall via the extensive and varied programme of events and activities which take place within the halls, whilst the second highlights the negative impacts of such attacks.”

Both productions have the same narrator who highlights the “misconceptions” around the true nature of the vital premises.

“Orange halls provide a space for a wide range of community activities to happen, including youth clubs, quiz nights and educational assistance,” she says.

“We offer a diverse and motivating range of programmes that the family can access and benefit from.

“It’s a focal point for our local bands and it provides the young people with an opportunity to develop their musical skills. We cater for various age groups and interests by holding sports tournaments, religious services and concerts, and even Highland dance classes.”

The narrator goes on to say: “There really is something for everyone. Nobody should feel threatened by an Orange hall.”

The second video focuses mainly on how such sectarian attacks negatively impact on the community as well as the buildings – based on the story of Orangeman ‘Jim’ who is a farmer and builder as well as a tutor for pipe band musicians.

It also points out that more than 300 attacks on Orange halls have been carried out in the last 10 years alone.

“The number of attacks on Orange halls has increased since the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998.

“Attacking an Orange hall is an act of intolerance. It achieves nothing other than sowing the seeds of division,” the narrator adds.

The videos can be viewed here