Vandals target Orange hall: Police treating incident as ‘hate crime’

The letters 'IRA' were painted on the side of Claudy Orange Hall in what police are treating as a hate crime.
The letters 'IRA' were painted on the side of Claudy Orange Hall in what police are treating as a hate crime.

Vandalism at an Orange hall in the Co Londonderry village of Claudy is being treated as a hate crime, police have said.

The PSNI received a report yesterday that the letters ‘IRA’ been painted on the side of the building at Main Street.

Claudy Orange Hall. Pic by Google

Claudy Orange Hall. Pic by Google

Inspector Yvonne McManus said: “We received a report shortly after 11:15am that graffiti had been spray painted on the side of the hall. It’s believed this occurred sometime between 10pm on Friday, 8 March and 6am yesterday.

“This is being treated as a hate crime at this time, and our enquiries are continuing.”

She continued: “I am appealing to anyone who was in the area between these times and saw any suspicious activity, or anyone who knows anything about this incident to call us on the non emergency number 101, quoting number 431 of 09/03/19.

“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

It is not the first time Claudy Orange Hall has been targeted by sectarian vandals.

In April 2017, similar graffiti was daubed on the wall of the property.

Alderman Maurice Devenney, a past City Grand Master for Londonderry, commented: “It is disappointing that this has happened again.

“I have been talking to people from both sides of the community and they are disgusted by what’s happened. The lodge poses no threat to anybody.”

Local DUP Alderman Graham Warke condemned the latest attack on the hall, describing it as “a total disgrace”.

“It is a total disgrace that once again we have seen an Orange hall attacked. It’s not the first attack on this hall in recent years.

“Any attack on any Orange hall is a disgrace and should not be happening,” he said.

A Grand Orange Lodge spokesman said: “This is sadly yet another example of the intolerant sectarianism displayed by a minority who continue to manifest their hatred towards the Orange Institution, by attacking our properties on a regular basis. Their actions must be universally condemned.”