There has been a call for greater tolerance following a paint bomb attack on the newly refurbished Memorial Hall in Society Street.
General Secretary of the Associated Clubs of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, Billy Moore, said he was “sad and disappointed” that it had happened to the hall, which re-opened in April after an extensive programme of refurbishment and a major extension to create a bespoke museum dedicated to the Siege of Derry, costing over £2 million.
It is understood the attack happened sometime between the Eleventh Night and the Twelfth celebrations.
Mr Moore said he hoped the individuals responsible would be apprehended.
“Firstly, I wish this hand not happened,” he said.
“I am saddened and disappointed that there are people who, despite all the positive work that has been done to promote cultural and tradition on beth sides, feel they have to react with this sort of behaviour.
“We really thought this kind of behaviour was all consigned to the past and we believed that there was a new era of acceptance and tolerance in respect of everyone’s culture and traditions, of other’s communities and right to celebrate that.
“It is sad to see that there are some people in this city who seem intent on living in the past and not accepting the rights of all to celebrate their culture and heritage. I am sad to say that it seems as though, given the date on which it occurred, that it was a deliberate attempt to attack the Memorial Hall.
“We are hopeful that the police will apprehend those individuals responsible. We also hope that the police will receive every assistance and receive all relevant information that leads to the identification and apprehension of those responsible and that they will be dealt with through the courts and receive proper procedure.”
Mr Moore said that the damage to the door, stone wall and ground around the entrance had been assessed and that steps were being put in place to have the paint removed this week.
A PSNI spokesman said: “Police are investigating after two paint bombs were thrown over the City walls in the Society Street area of Londonderry at around 10pm on July 11. Damage was caused to the door of the Memorial Hall as a result.
“Police are appealing for anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation to contact officers in Strand Road on the non-emergency number 101 or can be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
An integral aspect of the project to build the museum and refurbish the memorial hall was to enhance the quality and breadth of all cross-community outreach activity undertaken by the ABOD.
In addition to £2.2m from the European Union’s Peace III Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, additional funding for the project was also supplied by Tourism Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).
The 5,000 square feet visitors centre contains a number of important historical artefacts including a sword belonging to Siege hero Adam Murray, cannon balls, musket shot and medals commemorating the reformation of the Apprentice Boys in 1814.