Belfast Telegraph

Attack on Dungannon Orange Hall treated as 'hate crime'

Paint thrown at door of the hall in the attack.

Police in Dungannon are treating an attack on an Orange Hall as a hate crime.

They appealed for witnesses after criminal damage was caused to the Orange Hall on the Aghintober Road overnight on Saturday.

It was reported that sometime between 6pm on Saturday and 11am on Sunday morning a tin of paint was thrown at the front of the property causing paint damage to the steps and entrance of the building.

DUP leader Arlene Foster condemned the attack.

“This is a disgraceful attack on a community facility. It is a crime motivated by sectarianism and unfortunately is one of many such attacks sustained against Orange Halls right across Northern Ireland," the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said.

"There should not only be condemnation of such attacks from right across the political spectrum but an acceptance that demonisation of the Orange Institution and Loyal Order parades feeds into the mind-set which justifies such attacks. When we hear demands for respect then this must also be extended to the Orange Institution, its properties and parades.

"I hope that anyone with information on the attack on Aughintober Orange Hall will assist the police in bringing those responsible to justice.”

The Ulster Unionist Party’s Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA, Rosemary Barton, has said the attackers are simply seeking to divide the local community and must not be allowed to succeed.

“Whoever threw paint at Aghintober Orange Hall on Saturday night is trying to whip up community tensions and create divisions, which they can then exploit further," she said.

“This was an attack on a valuable community resource in a rural area which is extensively used by a wide range of groups.

“Northern Ireland has had enough of division and mistrust. The only future worth having is one in which mutual respect, trust and tolerance are the order of the day and this clearly frightens the sort of people who would attack an Orange Hall.

“They are obviously so insecure in their own culture that they cannot cope with the existence of anyone or anything which does not fit with their own narrow views. They have nothing to offer but fear and division

“The Police have described this attack as a hate crime and I appeal to anyone who can assist them to catch those responsible to come forward immediately. They represent no-one and are the enemies of us all.”

Police asked anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that may assist with the investigation to contact Police in Dungannon on 101 quoting reference 526 of 11/03/18.

Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.

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