Just because we haven’t covered it for a while doesn’t mean it’s not still going on. Attacks against often isolated Orange Halls in rural Ulster continues, as Eilis O’Hanlon notes, with very little in the way of consequences for those who do it:
Alas, so far there have been no convictions, and the attacks go on with shocking regularity in all six counties.
The latest was the destruction of Salterstown Orange hall in Ballyronan on the shores of Lough Neagh – the 21st such incident since January. That’s approximately one every 11 days. One hall was targeted three times in a few weeks.
That’s not even counting the paint and graffiti attacks which have also been taking place on Orange properties, all of which add to a sense of siege in the communities using them.
Because, as Nelson McCausland points out, it’s not only Orangemen who are affected. These are shared spaces used by many in the wider locale for social events, keep fit classes and the like.
In part this is a result of a long stimatisation of the Orange tradition, but it is also one of the consequences of a drift in leadership at the top of government propagating further drift in real policy to tackle this and other politically painful nettles directly.
As we’ve seen in the recent attacks on Jewish graves in west Belfast, without a civilising frame, what starts off in politics can quickly migrate to racism and narrow, brutish bigotry.