The Orange Institution has condemned the theft of a Union flag from an Orange hall near Dungiven, branding it a ‘hate crime’.
The flag was taken from the roof of Ardinariff Orange Hall, Drumrane Road, just outside Dungiven, in the early hours of Thursday, July 9 and the flag pole was also destroyed.
A spokesman for Limavady District LOL No 6 condemned the incident.
“The Orange community in Dungiven is disgusted at this deeply offensive act. This is clearly an attempt to increase tensions ahead of the Twelfth, but we would urge people not to retaliate in any way.
“This attack comes only weeks after a successful parade and fun evening, organised by local lodges, was held for a cross-community charity. Those responsible are clearly a minority who would rather drag us back to the past.”
The spokesman said it was “the latest criminal act on Orange property in the locality, with neighbouring halls being subjected to vandalism in recent years”.
“The Ardinariff incident is the fifth attack on an Orange hall over the course of the last month in Northern Ireland.
In the most severe of these, Ballytyrone Orange Hall in Loughgall was destroyed by arsonists last week.”