Co Armagh Orange Hall damaged in arson attack

Muckery Orange hall, located near Derrytrasna
Muckery Orange hall, located near Derrytrasna

An Orange hall in Co Armagh has been targeted in an attempted arson attack.

An oil tank at the rear of Muckery Orange hall, located near Derrytrasna, was deliberately set alight during the early hours of Sunday morning, causing scorch damage to the exterior of the Esky Road building.

The Muckery incident is the tenth reported attack on Orange property so far this year, and the four incident within the past month. The hall was destroyed in a previous arson attack in 1997.

An Orange Order spokesman condemned those responsible for the latest attack.

He said: “This sickening attempt to destroy a community facility under the cover of darkness is utterly reprehensible. The mindless delinquents responsible for such sectarian criminality should hang their heads in shame, and must be held accountable for their actions. It is extremely fortunate that the consequences of their reckless behaviour was not much more serious.

“The lodge which meets in this Orange hall is very close-knit, with many relatives involved maintaining a family tradition within Orangeism which has spanned generations. Their culture and heritage should offend no-one. The perpetrators of this crime are not representative of the wider community, who overwhelmingly reject such wrongdoing.”

The Orange Institution has appealed for anyone with any information in relation to the Muckery attack to contact the police as a matter of urgency.

Recent attacks on Orange halls have included incidents at Wattlebridge, Co Fermanagh, and Glenavy and Derriaghy in Co Antrim. An oil tank was set on fire during the incident which spread to damage the exterior of the building.

Police are appealing for information following an arson attack on the Orange Hall in the Eskey Road area of Craigavon.

A PSNI spokesman said a report was received this morning that sometime overnight an oil tank was set on fire causing scorch damage to spouting and the gable wall of the Orange Hall.

Inspector Lorraine Dobson appealed to anyone who has any information about the incident to contact Police at Lurgan on the non-emergency number 101.

Ulster Unionist Councillor and District Secretary of Lurgan LOL No 6, Colin McCusker also hit out at those responsible incident.

“It is hugely disappointing to waken to this news this morning,” said Councillor McCusker.

“Last Sunday I joined with the Brethren of Muckery as we took part in their annual church service. No Bands, no drums, just a silent walk from the hall to the Church close by. No more than 30 of us, quietly did what we do every year, exercise our civil and religious liberty.

“One week on and someone felt it necessary to carry out this hate crime.”

He added: “This type of intimidation will not succeed. This hall has been attacked before. It has been destroyed. Those who wish to engage in this type of ethnic cleansing will not succeed.”

“As we approach the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, it is vital that all right thinking people from right across the political spectrum ensure this activity has no support whatsoever.”

“I would urge anyone with information to bring it to the local police.”