Orange hall graffiti attack ‘a sickening hate crime’

The Orange Lodge of Ireland's Drew Nelson grand secretary
The Orange Lodge of Ireland's Drew Nelson grand secretary

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has condemned those responsible for daubing “IRA” on an Orange hall outside Lisburn.

Republican graffiti, including ‘IRA’ slogans, were daubed on Castlerobin Orange hall.

The hall was destroyed three times during the Troubles in separate arson attacks.

The Orange Order said it’s the seventh reported attack on Orange property so far this year and follows a similar incident in nearby Glenavy two months ago.

Grand Secretary Drew Nelson said: “This is another sickening hate crime which bears all the hallmarks of a deliberate sectarian attack.

“Such criminality is typical of the constant onslaught by republicans on our institution, focused not only on Orange property, but also our cultural expression, notably targeting our traditional parades.

“This is clearly an attempt to heighten tensions ahead of the Twelfth of July in the warped mindset of those responsible – they must not be allowed to succeed.”

The senior Orangeman called for anyone with information to contact police.

Politicians have also condemned the attack.

UUP MLA Danny Kinahan said those responsible were “seeking to whip up sectarian tensions and exploit divisions within society”.

Sinn Féin representative Mary Kate Quinn said the perpetrators “do not represent the local community and are certainly not republicans”, adding that anyone with information should contact the PSNI.

DUP MLA Paul Givan said the hall was “an easy target, situated relatively close to west Belfast”.

“We have witnessed countless such attacks on Orange halls over the years representing an attack not just on the building but also on those who use it,” he said.

“Those who have been so vociferous in their opposition to the Orange institution, its members and its parades cannot feign surprise when Orange halls are then subjected to sectarian hatred.”

Earlier this week, Inver Orange hall in Co Fermanagh was reopened three years after being destroyed by arsonists.