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Orange Order halls vandalism and graffiti being treated as hate crimes

Published 01/07/2016

The PSNI is investigating both incidents as sectarian hate crimes
The PSNI is investigating both incidents as sectarian hate crimes

Vandalism and graffiti on two Orange Order halls are being treated as hate crimes, police have said.

Paint was thrown at the buildings in Tanvally on Glebe Road, Annaclone and on the Drone Hill Road, Corbet, both near Banbridge, Co Down and a dissident republican slogan was also daubed on a wall.

The Orange Order said the attacks happened in the early hours of Friday morning and they were "clearly orchestrated".

An attempted arson attack also took place at Muckery Orange hall in Co Armagh last weekend.

Twelve Orange halls have been targeted so far this year, a spokesman said.

"These were clearly coordinated and deliberate criminal acts against the Orange Institution and what it stands for. The mindless morons responsible for such callous sectarianism ought to be ashamed of their actions and must be held accountable," he said.

"Their sinister exploits are in no way reflective of the excellent community relations in the Banbridge area, and indeed the members of both lodges are particularly active in their locality."

PSNI Chief Inspector Davy Beck appealed for information: "We are investigating both incidents as sectarian hate crimes and we would like to hear from anyone with information."

South Down Ulster Unionist MLA Harold McKee said the attacks were designed to inflame tensions at the height of the marching season.

"It is particularly sad that as we pause today to commemorate the centenary of the sacrifice of thousands of Ulstermen and Irishmen at the Somme, we have people in our society who use that hard won freedom to create fear and division," he said.

"The people responsible have one agenda - to whip up community tensions and create divisions, which they can exploit further.

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