Belfast Telegraph

Orange hall paint bombed in Co Antrim - Union flags stolen in Kilkeel

Sectarianism is wrong no matter where its source, says Sinn Fein MLA

Police are investigating the paint bombing of an Orange hall in Co Antrim and a spate of Union flag thefts in Co Down.

Police in Ballymena are investigating the report of criminal damage to Rosedernott Orange Hall on Lislaban Road in Cloughmills at the weekend.

It is believed that two paint bombs were thrown at the hall sometime between 11.30 pm on Saturday, 22 July and 11.30 am of Sunday, 23 July.

Meanwhile, between 1am and 5.30am on Sunday morning a flag was removed from the pole on the Orange Hall on the Aughnahoory Road. Damage was also caused to the flag pole.

Police are also investigating the thefts of flags and damage to flag poles from a number of addresses in the area between the Manse Road and Knockchree Avenue sometime overnight Saturday night.

A spokesman for the Orange Order expressed sadness at the "continuing spate of hate crime" and said senior members would be raising security issues with the PSNI.

He said: “These latest attacks, though separate, are yet further examples 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.

“Although the nature of the incidents is clearly different – the criminal intent is very much the same by the bigoted and narrow-minded individuals responsible. They have nothing to offer society, only division, and their actions must be universally condemned.”

North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan condemned the paint bomb attack on the Orange Hall.

Sectarianism is wrong no matter where its source and sectarian attacks like this paint bomb attack on Cloughmills Orange hall need to be condemned by us all. Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan

"Those responsible represent nobody and have nothing positive to offer the local North Antrim community.

"Such attacks have no place in our society and need to stop. I would appeal to anyone with information on this attack to report it to the PSNI."

A possible link between all of the incidents is being investigated and police are appealing to anyone who witnessed the incidents or anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation to contact officers in Newry on 101 quoting reference number 549 of 23/07/17.

Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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