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Tyrone Orange hall targeted for third time in 'hate campaign'

By Angela Rainey

Published 05/05/2016

First Minister Arlene Foster surveys the damage at the hall in February with the Orange Order’s William Ross
First Minister Arlene Foster surveys the damage at the hall in February with the Orange Order’s William Ross

Thugs have targeted an Orange hall in west Tyrone for a third time in less than three months in what has been described as a "hate campaign".

Strawletterdallon Orange hall, near Newtownstewart, was attacked in the early hours of yesterday.

Fourteen windows made of toughened glass were smashed in the latest attack, which likely involved the use of sledgehammers.

The hall was vandalised twice in February and prompted calls from First Minister Arlene Foster for people in the local community to condemn the acts.

The Strawletterdallon incident is the fifth attack on Orange Order property so far this year.

Derry and Strabane DUP councillor Allan Bresland visited the hall yesterday and said he was disgusted by the scene.

"It's a disgrace, those windows have only been put in 10 days ago and now it has been attacked again," he said.

"The hall serves the community - all sorts of people use it, from choirs to young farmers and a youth club.

"The community has been inconvenienced by this act of madness.

"Whoever did this needs to wise up and take responsibility, and if anyone has information they should take it to the PSNI straight away.

"Strawletterdallon is a quiet place, there's no bother here except for those who are attacking the hall."

It is estimated that repairs to the property will run into thousands of pounds.

The Orange Order condemned the latest incident, accusing the perpetrators of waging a "hate campaign" against the building.

A spokesman said: "Once again Strawletterdallon has been attacked by vandals who have nothing to offer society only destruction and division.

"The stark similarity to previous attacks indicates that the minority rump responsible have reverted to type, by returning to engage in their shameful sectarian criminality.

"These intolerant bigots believe they are damaging the Orange Institution by destroying its property. However, they fail to realise their wicked deeds are actually an attack on community groups in and around the Newtownstewart area who avail of this hall as a social facility and meeting place.

"Their actions are futile and are not representative of the local community, who will quite rightly be appalled at this latest attack."

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101.

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