Rural Orange hit in arson attempt

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

AN Orange hall in an isolated rural area was attacked by arsonists at the weekend.

The sectarian attack on Muckery Orange Hall saw a door scorched and damage to the exterior of the building.

The hall is located on Esky Road between Derrytrasna and Bannfoot. The incident was reported to police at approximately 3.30am on Sunday.

Scorch marks were caused to the front door of the property where it is believed a petrol canister had been ignited. There were also attempts made to smash several windows.

Worshipful Master of LOL 1685, Erol Abraham, said: “12 years ago the hall was burnt to the ground.

“Last year somebody broke the windows. They were caught and made to pay for the damage that was done.

“This year they poured petrol round the door. Luckily it was a fire door so it didn’t catch fire. It will still have to be replaced. The downspout is damaged and there’s smoke damage round the door.”

Mr Abraham added: “This is a closeknit community here, but it only takes one or two people to do the like of that. It puts a distaste into the community.

“Hopefully this is the end of it. I don’t care if it’s Orange halls or AOH halls that are being attacked. There’s no need for it.”

DUP MLA Stephen Moutray has condemned the attempted arson attack. He said: “The attack was clearly sectarian on an isolated rural community.

“This attack is absolutely deplorable. Upper Bann has suffered from calculated and deliberate attempts in the past and this latest is totally unacceptable.”

He added: “This was purely an attack on a rural Protestant community and it is a throwback to our past. This is a small minority of people who refuse to accept the shared future which the vast majority of people wish to see.

“I would hope that those involved are brought to justice and that there will be total condemnation from across the community.”

SDLP Councillor Declan McAlinden said: “I would strongly condemn this attack.

“This is a small community. The vast majority of people get on well with their neighbours from the other side.

“This is not what this community wants. All it serves to do is build tensions coming up to the marching season.”

UUP MLA Sam Gardiner said: “Once again they are getting up to their nonsense. They are attempting to divide the community here. They will not win. The people will rise above.”

Anyone who noticed any unusual activity in the area or who has any information is asked to contact CID in Lurgan on 0845 600 8000 or call Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.