Orange Hall ‘attacked’ after peaceful parades

The annual Whiterock Orange Order parade passed off peacefully
The annual Whiterock Orange Order parade passed off peacefully

A paint bomb and petrol bomb attack has been carried out on a Belfast Orange Hall, it has been claimed.

Late on Sunday the News Letter received a report of the incident at Clifton Street Orange Hall, which stands at north Belfast’s Carlisle Circus.

It is believed to have unfolded at around 10pm.

DUP councillor Brian Kingston said it was “clearly a premeditated, planned attack on our culture after a peaceful weekend of parades”.

The details of the incident were unconfirmed by police at time of writing.

It came after two trouble-free parades over the weekend,

A police commander has said he has been “encouraged” by the lack of trouble at the first one – Belfast’s Whiterock parade, which took place on Saturday.

The parade was met by nationalist protestors, Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw (Belfast City District Commander) said: “I was encouraged by the calm and peaceful way in which the parade and associated protests were conducted.

“I want to commend those involved for their efforts in ensuring the day was a success.”

He said he wanted to “continue to encourage those with influence in any future parades and protests to work together with the police to ensure that the end result is as positive and peaceful as we have witnessed over recent weeks”.

In addition, a parade commemorating the sacrifice of the 36th Ulster Division also appeared to have passed off without incident in the city on Sunday.

The 36th Ulster Division parade was listed as setting out at 2.30pm from north to south Belfast, via the city centre, with a 5.45pm return route scheduled.

It is estimated that more than 200 Orangemen took part.

Police received no reports of trouble during the outward march, and a spokesman for the Orange Order said they had not been notified of any disturbances either.

A single drumbeat restriction was in place as the march passed St Patrick’s chapel.

Mr Kingston said the band accompanying the parade should have been allowed to play hymns as they passed.

He said that “the parade passed off peacefully, and I hope the Parades Commission will recognise that, and that they’ll be able to move towards a more normal situation”.

Meanwhile at the weekend, Martin McGuinness used a speech to criticise the Orange Order.

Speaking in Londonderry, the Deputy First Minister said: “Unionist political leaders also need to recognise their responsibilities and the enormously damaging role that the sectarian structure of this state played in generating decades of conflict.

“The leadership of unionism has been slow to do so. In many ways they cling to a past that no longer exists – and in so doing encourage others to do the same.

“The triumphalist demands of the Orange Order in north Belfast are one of the consequences of this failure of leadership.”