Pictures emerge of arson aftermath at Orange hall in Co Londonderry

General views of Salterstown Orange hall which was extensively damaged in an overnight arson attack. Gordon Bryson, deputy master of LOL 482 Salterstown, is pictured surveying the damage.
General views of Salterstown Orange hall which was extensively damaged in an overnight arson attack. Gordon Bryson, deputy master of LOL 482 Salterstown, is pictured surveying the damage.

An Orange hall has been extensively damaged after it was targeted by arsonists in Co Londonderry.

An Orange hall has been extensively damaged after it was targeted by arsonists in Co Londonderry.

General views of Salterstown Orange hall which was extensively damaged in an overnight arson attack. 'John Bryson, deputy master of LOL 482 Salterstown, is pictured.

General views of Salterstown Orange hall which was extensively damaged in an overnight arson attack. 'John Bryson, deputy master of LOL 482 Salterstown, is pictured.

The overnight blaze at the Salterstown hall near Ballyronan, Magherafelt was reported by a local resident in the early hours of Monday morning.

A lodge banner, collarettes and band instruments were all destroyed as well as the interior of the rural property.

A spokesman for Salterstown LOL 482 said: “Lodge members are in a complete state of shock. We are absolutely devastated that our property should be targeted in such a manner, and are simply crestfallen by the scene of devastation inflicted by the abhorrent individuals responsible.

“The hall has been a part of community life for over 100 years, serving as a meeting place for local groups, and its unavailability for a period will be keenly felt. Despite this major setback, the lodge and the wider Orange fraternity will rally around and ensure our hall is once again fully restored.”

Saltersland Orange Hall, outside Ballyronan, which was gutted in an overnight fire.

Saltersland Orange Hall, outside Ballyronan, which was gutted in an overnight fire.

A total of 21 Orange halls have been targeted by arsonists or vandals so far this year and a delegation of senior officials from the Orange Order is due to meet police in the coming days to discuss the situation.

The lodge spokesman urged anyone with information to contact the PSNI, and added: “The Salterstown incident once again illustrates there remains a minority in Northern Ireland society who are prepared to use violence to attack the Orange institution. They must not be allowed to succeed.

“We would also make an appeal for calm right across the community, and in particular that there should be no retaliation whatsoever for this attack. We, as an institution, would not wish any community to suffer from such violence, having sustained so many attacks on our properties over the years.”

A PSNI spokesman said the fire at the hall was reported to them shortly before 4am.

D/I Will Tate added: “Substantial damage has been caused to the orange hall and we are treating this as deliberate.”