PSNI say attack on Orange Hall near Moneymore was ‘hate crime’

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Police are treating an attempted arson at Ballyneal Orange Hall, near Moneymore, as a hate crime.

An attempt was made to set alight two exterior doors sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday.

There are scorch marks visible at the entrance door of the hall is in a remote location between Moneymore and Ballyronan.

An Orange Order spokesman condemned those responsible for the Ballyneal incident.

He said: “This is clearly a sinister development and a blatant attempt to destroy Orange property in a rural and isolated area of County Londonderry. It is extremely fortunate that the perpetrators - whose premeditated intent was destruction - were slapdash and amateurish in their actions, otherwise the consequences could have been much more severe.

“The building is used not only by the local lodge but also an accordion band, and like other such properties, plays an integral and vital role in community life.”

He added: “This unfortunate episode once again underlines the fact that there remains a minority in our society intent on maintaining a legacy of hatred against the Orange Institution, and who are still prepared to attack our properties and our traditions. They must not be allowed to succeed.”

The spokesman appealed for anyone with any information in relation to the Ballyneal incident to contact police immediately.

There have been a total of six reported attacks on Orange property so far this year in Northern Ireland.

Sergeant Luke Moyne said: “Police enquiries are ongoing and we are appealing for witnesses. The number to call is 101.”