Local MLAs hit out at ‘mindless thugs’ for arson bid on Glenavy Orange Hall
SOUTH Antrim DUP MLA Trevor Clarke has slammed the “mindless thugs” responsible for an arson attack on an Orange Hall in Glenavy.
And his Sinn Fein Assembly colleague Mitchel McLaughlin described it as a !sectarian crime intended to heighten tensions within the local community”.
Glenavy Protestant Hall has already been attacked twice previously in the past year when paint bombs were thrown at the hall in February and July.
The latest incident last Wednesday morning saw two wheelie bins pushed against the building’s front gates and set on fire, causing scorch damage.
Mr Clarke said that it was “fortunate” that much more severe damage wasn’t caused to the hall, and was confined to the exterior of the building, adding it was “clear that the perpetrators intended to set the hall alight”.
“Being the third attack in recent months, it is apparent that there is an on-going campaign to rid the unionist people of Glenavy of a central location to their culture,” Mr Clarke said.
He added: “The people responsible for this are mindless thugs who do not represent the interests of the vast majority of South Antrim constituents.
“We have moved on from such despicable tactics, and I would appeal for anyone with information about this and previous attacks on the hall to come forward to the police.
“These criminals must be brought to justice to prevent further attacks on the Glenavy Protestant Hall and the great distress it causes to the people who avail of its cultural values.”
Meanwhile, Mr McLaughlin said that the local agreement over the Twelfth parade in Crumlin had proven that with dialogue both sections of the community can come to an accommodation in order to express their culture.
“I believe that the people who carried out this attack did so on an effort to undo the good work carried out over that period,” he added.
He continued: “This was undoubtedly a sectarian attack aimed at heightening tensions between the two sections of the community but fortunately there was little damage done on this occasion.
“The people who carried out this attack need to desist immediately and realise that their actions cannot undo the good work carried out by the two communities over the past few weeks.
“Anyone who has information on this attack should bring it forward to the PSNI ”
An Orange Order spokesman said: “This latest deliberate attack appears to be part of an ongoing campaign - which is becoming more serious and sinister in its nature – against the Orange culture and heritage in south Antrim.
“As an Institution, we would urge the police to devote more resources towards the prevention and detection of such attacks on the Protestant community in Glenavy.”
The spokesman called on members of the public with any information to contact police as a matter of urgency.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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