Northern Ireland

Carnagh Orange Hall: 'Crude' device left outside hall in Keady, County Armagh

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Media captionA saucepan, thought to contain homemade explosive material, was left at the front door of Carnagh Orange hall

The Orange Order has said a crude device has partially exploded outside an Orange hall in County Armagh.

A spokesman said a saucepan, thought to contain homemade explosive material, was left at the front door of Carnagh Orange hall, outside Keady on Friday night.

A shutter was damaged at the property on the Castleblayney Road.

The police said they were investigating reports that a small device may have partially exploded at the hall.

The Orange Order's grand master Edward Stevenson said the "moronic actions of those behind the bomb attack at Carnagh Orange hall must be universally condemned".

"Orangeism will not be intimidated," he said.

Trevor Geary, a senior Orangeman at Carnagh Orange hall, said he was disappointed by the latest attack and added he thought "all this was behind us".

'Cross-community'

He said the hall had been damaged by pipe bomb and arson attacks several times during the Troubles but this was the first attack since 2007.

Mr Geary added that the lodge's members have been involved in cross-community work for the last number of years and have raised thousands of pounds for charity.

Image caption Carnagh Orange hall was damaged in several pipe bomb and arson attacks during the Troubles, but was extensively rebuilt in 2008

They have donated the funds to a cancer support group in County Monaghan, a special needs school in County Cavan and the children's cardiology unit in Belfast's Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

Mr Geary added that in recent years, they have tried hard to open their Orange hall to the public, for use as a community facility "for everyone".

Both unionist and republican politicians have condemned the attack, with Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy and Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan visiting the scene together on Saturday.

Image caption UUP MLA Danny Kennedy said the attack was "designed to intimidate the lodge members"

Mr Kennedy said: "The members of the lodge have worked tirelessly as an integral part of the local community, and despite repeated sectarian attacks on their premises will continue to do so," he said.

'Determined'

"I understand that a crude explosive device was used, and the hall has sustained minimal damage.

"This attack was also designed to intimidate the lodge members. However, they will not bow down to intimidation and are determined that they will proceed with the charity events which they have planned for next weekend."

Carnagh Orange hall hosts its biggest annual fundraiser, a charity breakfast, on the first Saturday in October and Mr Geary said its members would ensure the damage was repaired so it could go ahead as usual.

Image caption Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan condemned the attack as he visited the scene

Mr Boylan said there could be no justification for attacks on Carnagh or on any Orange halls and called for them to end.

"Those responsible have absolutely nothing to offer society and need to call an immediate halt to their actions," he said.

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MLA William Irwin described the attack on the hall as "inflammatory, sectarian and cowardly".

"Those behind this attack would like to stir up tensions and drive Protestants from having any part in the community. I know they don't speak for the vast majority in County Armagh who want to live peaceably with their neighbours irrespective of religion," Mr Irwin added.

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