Statement: Ballynougher Orange Hall destroyed in arson attack
The arson attack on Ballynougher Orange Hall near Magherafelt on Sunday, 30th October, is the latest in a long line of such incidents against the Orange community in recent years.
This incident is not just an attack on bricks and mortar, rather it is a premediated attack on Orange culture and heritage in South Londonderry – a tradition which has been rooted in this area for over two hundred years.
Unfortunately with over 550 attacks on our properties since the Belfast Agreement, it is clear that militant Republicans need no excuse to attack Orange Halls. Their actions are encouraged and their rhetoric reinforced by bigoted commentators, cartoonists, newspapers and academics who continually demonise the Orange family.
The Orange Community in this area will not be intimidated by the actions of those determined to raise tensions and cause community division. We would however appeal that there should be no retaliation since such a response would be wrong and entirely counterproductive.
This despicable act is being rightfully treated as a hate crime by the PSNI and must be condemned by all.