THE Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has condemned the weekend vandalism attack on Dunloy Orange Hall.
A spokesperson said: “This is yet another sectarian attack on Protestant and Orange culture and should be condemned by everyone in the community. It is clearly designed to create tension in the area but we would urge people not to fall into that trap.
“We would encourage our members to remain vigilant at this busy time of the year for the Orange Order and to look out for suspicious activity around our halls.
“The only response to sectarian attacks like this is to gather information that is useful to the police, who must do everything they can to bring the culprits before the courts.”
Police in Ballymoney are investigating an incident of criminal damage at the Orange Hall at Station Road.
Some time overnight between Friday 10 June and Saturday 11 June, graffiti was sprayed on the building.
Police are investigating and would appeal to anyone with information to contact them on 08456008000. Alternatively, information about crime can be passed anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity by calling 0800555111.
North Antrim Traditional Unionist Voice MLA Jim Allister said: “Yet another republican attack on an Orange Hall in the Dunloy area underscores the constant vendetta maintained against the unionist community in the area.
“This hate-filled crime manifests the intolerant ‘ourselves alone’ mentality that shapes the republican mindset; a mindset which demands privilege for itself but can’t even allow an Orange Hall to stand unmarred by their pro-IRA graffiti.”
Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman and Stormont Culture Committee member, has challenged republicans to condemn the latest attack on Dunloy Orange Hall and assist the police in bringing those responsible before the courts.
Mr Swann, himself a Past Master in the Orange Order, said he “totally condemned the sickening and wanton vandalism” on the hall.
He added: “I would appeal to the republican community to show responsibility and assist the police in bringing the culprits for this latest dastardly attack on our Orange culture before the courts.
“Sinn Fein, other republicans and nationalists must clearly demonstrate that all their talk about equality is not empty rhetoric. They can do so by ensuring that the vandals responsible are brought to justice.
“I would also support the statement by the Grand Lodge of Ireland that this latest act of vandalism against Dunloy Orange hall is yet another sectarian attack on Protestant and Orange culture and should be condemned by everyone in the community.
“I fully agree with the Orange leadership’s plea that this attack is clearly designed to create tension in the area and I urge people not to fall into that trap,” said Mr Swann.
Ballymoney DUP Councillor John Finlay also condemned the attack.
Mr Finlay said: “I totally condemn this attack on Dunloy Orange Hall, which occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning. Such attacks have become a regular occurrence. I appeal to anyone with information to pass it onto the PSNI.” the local DUP councillor said.
Police said the graffiti included “symbols of genitalia”.