Orange hall damage is ‘heart-breaking’ says Mid Ulster MLA

Saltersland Orange Hall, outside Ballyronan, which was gutted in an overnight fire.

Saltersland Orange Hall, outside Ballyronan, which was gutted in an overnight fire.

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Arsonists who attacked a south Derry Orange hall last night are believed to have removed slates from the roof and poured in flammable liquid.

Lodges members were today busy clearing up the mess left at Salterstown Orange hall on the shores of Lough Neagh.

Saltersland Orange Hall, outside Ballyronan, which was gutted in an overnight fire

Saltersland Orange Hall, outside Ballyronan, which was gutted in an overnight fire

One lodge member told the Mail that the roof - dating back to 1920 - will have to be replaced and other irreplaceable items had been destroyed.

Local Ulster Unionist MLA Sandra Overend has accused those behind the attack on Salterstown Orange Hall in Ballyronan of a hate crime.

“This was a despicable attack not only on the Orange Hall but the entire rural minority community in the area. It was heart-breaking to visit and see the damage to the Hall and the real distress it has caused to local members.

“The people responsible will not succeed however as community relations are especially strong in the area and this has been demonstrated by the palpable anger felt locally at this attack.”

Saltersland Orange Hall, outside Ballyronan, which was gutted in an overnight fire

Saltersland Orange Hall, outside Ballyronan, which was gutted in an overnight fire

“This hate crime may have damaged and destroyed band equipment and irreplaceable lodge memorabilia, yet it will not defeat the determination of the local people from rebuilding and coming back even stronger from it.

Detectives have issued an appeal for information following a fire at an orange hall in the Magherafelt area.

Detective Inspector Will Tate said, “Shortly before 4am this morning, Monday 15th August, police received a report of an orange hall on fire the Salterstown Road in Magherafelt.

“Substantial damage has been caused to the orange hall and we are treating this as deliberate. If you can help please call the 101 number quoting reference number 164 of 15.8.16.

Saltersland Orange Hall, outside Ballyronan, which was gutted in an overnight fire

Saltersland Orange Hall, outside Ballyronan, which was gutted in an overnight fire

“ Alternatively information about crime can be passed via the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”