Orange Hall arson attack branded a ‘hate crime’

February 27, 2017

An arson attack on an Orange Hall in Newry has been widely condemned, with Ulster Unionist Assembly candidate for Newry and Armagh, Danny Kennedy, branding it a “hate crime.”

Around 7.15pm on Saturday night, police received a report that a number of tyres had been placed against the rear of the Altnaveigh Orange Hall in Martin’s Lane in Newry and set on fire.  The blaze caused damage to the eaves of the property as well as smoke damage to the interior of the building.

Expressing his disgust at the attack, Mr Kennedy said,

“I condemn this hate crime, which is deliberately timed by some republicans to raise tensions in the area in the run up to the election. The strategic position of Altnaveigh and its history clearly continues to play on the twisted and bigoted minds of those responsible for this attack.”

UUP Councillor David Taylor echoed his sentiments, describing the incident as “a very sinister attempt to intimidate members of the local Orange Lodge.”

“Altnaveigh Orange Lodge is very well renowned and widely respected within the Newry area and all right thinking people will offer strong condemnation of the attack,” added Mr Taylor, who appealed for anyone with information on the attack to report it to the police as soon as possible.

Sinn Féin Newry & Armagh  Assembly Election candidate Conor Murphy also condemned the attack and encouraged anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI.

“If the objective was to cause community division I am confident that this will not happen, said Mr Murphy.

“These attacks are no different than attacks on GAA halls, churches and other cultural and community facilities and must be rejected by everyone.

“I would encourage anyone with any information on this attack to bring it forward to the PSNI.”

Police are working to establish a motive for the incident and are appealing to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area or anyone who has any information about this incident to contact officers in Newry on 101, quoting reference number 1126 25/02/17.