Fears after attack on Orange Hall

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AN ATTACK on a Pomeroy Orange Hall was an attempt to raise tensions in the area, according to a local Orangeman.

Franklin Kelly of the Pomeroy District of the Orange Lodge said the attack on Ballymacall Lodge Hall could be the start of another campaign of intimidation.

Republican graffiti was daubed on the building and damage done to security lights and drain pipes.

The Ballymacall Lodge Hall between Pomeroy and Dungannon was attacked some time between Thursday night and Saturday morning.

The hall has been damaged twice before in arson attacks and it is the second time it has been vandalised.

Mr Kelly told the News Letter said: “There is a bit of worry that the hall was attacked because the Twelfth is going to be held in Pomeroy this year,” said Mr Kelly.

“I think the boys that did this are probably just young thugs from a republican background but they could be trying to stir up a bit of trouble before the parades.

“A lot of the graffiti is directed at the police and support for the Provos. They must have used the downpipe to destroy the security lights.

“We’re just glad they didn’t get into the hall.

“I think it could have been a lot worse, but it is still very upsetting for anyone to attack us like this.”

The hall, which was opened in 1985, has been subjected to a series of attacks in recent years, most notably an arson attack in 2005, which caused extensive smoke damage.

A spokesman for the Grand Lodge of Ireland echoed the fears expressed by Mr Kelly.

“Fortunately damage was relatively minor on this occasion, but it is particularly worrying as the Twelfth is being held in Pomeroy this year,” he said.

“We know there are people who do not want any Orange presence in the area and we would ask local community leaders to condemn this attack without reservation.”

Police say they are investigating the attack and have appealed for information.

In 2010, the Bonn Orange Hall, which is also in the Pomeroy area, was completely destroyed in an arson attack.