Politicians slam flag theft in Garryduff

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Local elected representatives have hit out at the theft of flags from an Independent Orange Hall in Garryduff.

DUP councillor John Finlay said: ““I have been made aware that flags have been stolen from Garryduff Independent Orange Hall and I want to unreservedly condemn this latest attack on our Protestant and Orange heritage.

“Sadly, there are those within our community are so bigoted and hate-filled that they are completely unable to tolerate Orangeism and Protestantism in any form. Opposition to parades is one of their chief weapons but, as part of their war, they are also quite prepared to attack, vandalise and destroy Orange Halls.

“I am already on record as having condemned the disgraceful and grossly offensive slogans and other examples of vandalism at Rasharkin Orange Hall, and I now call upon the PSNI to act swiftly to apprehend those who are responsible for the theft of the flags at Garryduff.

“If bandsmen can be hauled before a court for playing tunes, then surely those who are guilty of arson, criminal damage, vandalism or theft ought to be apprehended without delay.”

Independent Orange Order Grand Master and local DUP Cllr Alan McLean has also condemned the removal of the flags.

Cllr McLean said; ‘This is another attempt to heighten tensions in the Ballymoney area as we approach the Twelfth celebrations and must be unreservedly condemned.

“Over recent weeks intolerance of Orange and Protestant culture has manifested itself in the province and this is a further attempt to intimidate by those intent on division. I want to assure Garryduff, Rasharkin and all other local lodges of my full support in the midst of this ongoing intimidation.’”