LATEST: Catholic community ‘shocked’ by attack on Salterstown Orange hall - parish priest

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th August 2016 -
General views of Salterstown Orange hall which was extensively damaged in an overnight arson attack.
John and Gordon  Bryson of LOL 482 Salterstown
Photograph by Stephen  Hamilton

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th August 2016 - General views of Salterstown Orange hall which was extensively damaged in an overnight arson attack. John and Gordon Bryson of LOL 482 Salterstown Photograph by Stephen Hamilton

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The Roman Catholic community was shocked by the attack on Salterstown Orange Hall, according to Ballinderry parish priest Fr Peter Donnelly.

The hall, near Ballyronan, was badly damaged in an arson attack in the early hours of Monday morning.

Fr Donnelly, who is planning to visit the hall this morning, said the whole Catholic community condemned it outright.

“We are a very close community in the area and we really feel for them,” he said.

Local Sinn Fein councillor Gavin Bell said he deplored the attack.

“To sneak up, in the dark of night, and set alight a building which is very close to the hearts of those who use it, is totally wrong,” he said.

“It’s very disappointing to learn of this incident, for recently I was commending how demonstrations taking place in the vast majority nationalist village of Ballyronan, were dignified and respectful, by those taking part and visiting from outside the village and how this dynamic is non-contentious, something many other areas could learn from.

“In times of peace, many of our local people across the community have been working hard to help build an inclusive togetherness, respecting their neighbour’s cultural differences, something I would call on community leaders to ensure is carried out even stronger in the aftermath of this attack. We shouldn’t and will not let bigotry win out.

“Those carrying out these kind of attacks on Orange Halls should take a long hard look at themselves and ask how they are contributing to the helping to bring the wider community together? Is this the kind of Ireland and society they want for the future of our children and their children?”

SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone said: “I am shocked that this disgraceful attack has happened in such a quiet area which rarely sees any trouble and where people get on extremely well with their neighbours.

“It is completely out of character for an area where a belief in ‘live and let live’ has always prevailed.

“This attack was utterly reprehensible and must be condemned by everyone. Those responsible for it have nothing to offer the community.”