Orange Hall attack was hate crime, says PSNI

This petrol bomb was thrown at the front door of Glenageeragh Orange hall, near Augher in Co Tyrone on 24 March 2018.
This petrol bomb was thrown at the front door of Glenageeragh Orange hall, near Augher in Co Tyrone on 24 March 2018.

Police are treating a petrol bomb attack on a Co Tyrone Orange Hall as a hate crime.

The device was thrown at the front door of Glenageeragh Orange hall, near Augher on Saturday morning.

It caused minor damage after failing to ignite properly.

The hall is widely used by the local community and only hosted a gospel concert hours before the criminal act, the order said.

A Grand Lodge spokesman condemned those responsible for the latest hate crime targeting Orange property.

He said: This is a deeply regrettable and disturbing incident which had the potential to destroy a valued community hub and symbolic cultural building. It is only as a consequence of the amateurish actions of those responsible that we are not dealing with a much more serious occurrence.”

The Glenageeragh incident is the second time this month an Orange hall has been targeted in Co Tyrone following a separate paint bomb attack at Aughintober, near Dungannon.

The spokesman added: “This is sadly yet another example of the intolerant sectarianism displayed by a minority who continue to manifest their hatred towards the Orange Institution, by attacking our properties on a regular basis.

“The mindless idiots responsible offer nothing to society – only heartache and division. Their senseless actions must be universally condemned.”

PSNI Inspector Marie Stinton said: “Shortly before noon today [Saturday], police received a report that the remains of what is believed to have been a petrol bomb were found outside an Orange Hall in the Glenhoy Road area.

“Minor damage was caused to the building. The incident is being treated as a hate crime at this time.”

UUP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Rosemary Barton MLA, said: “With this being the second Orange Hall in South Tyrone in two weeks being targeted, it is obvious that there are still people who have hate in their hearts towards the unionist community.”

Her party colleague councillor Robert Mulligan, who lives locally, said it is “unfortunate that we still live in such an intolerant society, that lacks respect for another culture”.

He added: “This hall was used by the wider community in the Augher area and I know this recent attack will have impacted on a number of residents nearby.”

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson said the attack was “nothing more than pure hatred, likely carried out by mindless, sectarian thugs”.

He added: “Incidents like this do nothing except attempt to intimidate one section of our community and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”

Police are appealing for anyone who noticed anything suspicious or who may have useful information to contact detectives on the non-emergency number 101, quoting ref 557/24/03/18.

Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.