Belfast Telegraph

Orange hall attackers in a regressive, hate-filled minority

Editor's Viewpoint

The two attacks on Strawletterdallon Orange hall within the space of 24 hours were most depressing. The building was also attacked a few years ago, and so the thuggish sectarianism of a minority continues to deface our society.

Orange halls in rural areas are vulnerable, and this is particularly unfortunate because for some people they act as a hub and meeting place for the locals.

They are used for a wide variety of community activities, ranging from the WI to young farmers' clubs and, occasionally, blood transfusion centres.

Therefore, an attack on a rural Orange hall is also an attack on the local community - particularly in those areas where shifts in population have left these buildings in what may be perceived as hostile territory. It must not be assumed that such attacks reflect the view of the surrounding nationalist population, who recognise the importance of diversity and adopt a 'live and let live' attitude.

It is encouraging to see the First Minister visiting the area in support of a community which might well view itself as somewhat beleaguered.

It is also encouraging to hear the Deputy First Minister condemn these attacks, and he and his party have been consistent on this issue.

The Orange Order in general should be commended for its strenuous efforts in outreach work during recent years.

While these attacks on Orange halls are depressing, this newspaper believes that the majority of people in Northern Ireland wish to live together in mutual tolerance and respect.

Despite the small factions of naysayers and negative micro-groups, the reality is that this province has come a long way in a relatively short time. This has been virtually a blink of an eye, given the centuries of our troubled history.

Those who carry out sectarian attacks on either side have nothing to offer us, apart from continued division and hatred. They should be opposed and shunned at every available opportunity.

Belfast Telegraph


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