Flagpole cut down at Orange Hall near Dungannon

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A FLAGPOLE flying the Union flag outside a Co Tyrone Orange Hall has been cut down.

According to the Orange Order the attack at Ballnakelly Orange Hall near Dungannon, is believed to have taken place during the early hours of Wednesday.

It is thought those responsible used a hack saw to carry out the deed.

A spokesman for Ballynakelly Rising Sons of Ulster LOL 157 accused the culprits of attempting to escalate tensions ahead of the Twelfth.

He said: “This was clearly a cowardly and deliberate attempt, under the cover of darkness, to cause friction in an area where it does not exist.

“Members of our Lodge are fully integrated in the local community and enjoy cordial relations with our Roman Catholic neighbours. We seek to offend no-one.

“While this episode demonstrates some are intent on eroding all symbols of Britishness from this part of the United Kingdom, those responsible for this shameful act will not be allowed to succeed.”

He added: “Indeed, the flagpole has already been replaced and the Union flag, which coincidentally expresses diversity, is once again proudly on display outside our hall.”

A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland condemned the incident and appealed for any witnesses to contact police immediately.