Orange hall in Derry targeted in sectarian attack

damage
Image caption James Hetherington, City Grand Master of the City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge, with DUP Councillors Maurice Devenney and Gary Middleton

The Orange Order has said it could cost up to £10,000 to repair damage caused by vandals at one of its halls in Londonderry.

Attackers broke into the building on the Fawney Road and marked the inside with sectarian graffiti.

Two banners and a painting were also stolen.

The deputy grandmaster of the city lodge of Londonderry, Alderman Maurice Devenney, visited the hall on Friday night.

"There were two plaques that were up on the wall because the hall had previously been burnt before twice, and they inscribed the letters INLA into them," he said.

"This is a sectarian attack and a hate attack on this hall and I do have worries if this is a trend that's going to be set down here in Londonderry now for other rural halls that are out in very quiet locations."

DUP assembly member Willie Hay condemned those behind the attack for trying to raise tensions.

"We've had a very good parading season in the city of Londonderry," he said.

"A lot of work went on behind the scenes, but quite obviously we've still people within the community that are deliberately going out to heighten tension when there is no real tension there."

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Fleming also condemned those responsible.

"This attack is wrong, and those behind this attack or indeed any other attacks on Orange halls need to think about their actions and the effect that they have on community relations," he said.

"The simple fact is that whoever is behind such attacks can only be described as sectarian.

"There have been attacks on Orange halls and GAA clubs across the north. Both are equally as wrong and need to be brought to a stop immediately.

"There can be no justification for attacks against any section of the community whatsoever. I would appeal for the items stolen to be returned."