Fifty Orange Halls attacked in three weeks…

Willie McCrea may have declared himself satisfied that the IRA is finally defeated, and this may have the quietest Twelfth since the beginning of the Troubles but one aspect of a low level sectarian conflict seems to be on the increase. There have been an extraordinary fifty attacks on Orange Halls since the beginning of July, sometimes running to as many as two or three in one night.

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  • Alan

    Mind you, at two or three a night that could be two guys in a car touring around. This kind of thing would be very easy to orchestrate.

    Hopefully, though, it’s just a residual-hate kind of thing.

  • Pól

    How many orange halls are there? Surely there should be some stakeout operations going on? There are 2-3 attacks every night so 1 or 2 nights staking out would catch a few you would think.

    Maybe the HET could take a day off and do it?

  • Mick Fealty

    Some of the ones attacked are on main roads (Tamlacht for instance), so Alan’s hit and run theory might hold. The attacks on a Baptist church and school is more puzzling.

  • Yokel

    Sometimes, for some people, any Prod will do Mick even if its a building.

  • fair_deal

    Pol

    Approx 800 halls (so 1 in every 16 halls has been attacked in the past three weeks).

    Here is an outline of the pattern of attacks pre-2006
    Link 1
    The number of attacks and amount of damage have also been rising in the previous 3 years

    Unfortunately the PSNI are seriously failing on clearing up hate crimes of all forms
    Link 2
    See Table 3.1

    With attacks on symbolic property the clear-up seems to be even worse.
    Link 3

    Sorry for banging on but the need for police to prioritise low-level sectarian crime is a hobby horse of mine. I just have had too many conversations with peelers were the general response is a shrug or victims of an attack who has been told to move or they shouldn’t have been there etc.

  • Pól

    FD

    Agree 100%

  • Free Agent

    Totally deplorable. I don’t agree with the OO at all, but there is no need for these attacks. They achieve nothing except to create an air of suspicion – and those days should be consigned to the bin.

    Out of curiosity , just following on from the statement about how many OO halls are there. Are there any reliable figures on current OO membership levels and/or number of halls? Have they fallen/increased in recent years?

  • Chris Donnelly

    All such attacks should be condemned and are utterly unacceptable. Fair Deal is right about the lack of concern regarding low-level sectarian attacks and acts.

    Whether they be republican or British monuments, graves, Orange or GAA halls, there does appear to be an acceptance that such attacks will continue into the future.

    Tackling these will be a much harder task, and I believe will be directly related to the developing acceptance of the equal legitimacy of the nationalist and unionist identities within the six counties, which of itself will promote tolerance on all sides.

    It will also be related to the success or otherwise of all sides (but particularly the Order) in distancing itself from the provocative sectarian dimension of the Marching Season.

  • George

    According to the PSNI, last year there were 1,695 sectarian incidents, a whopping 94.5% increase on the previous year.

    That works out at a little about 32 a week.

    Could it be that this specific type of sectarian attack was going on at this level last year too but simply wasn’t reported as much in the media?

    Or are we seeing a further ratcheting up of low-level sectarian attacks across Northern Ireland?

  • Pól

    Presumably some of the increase in sectarian incidents is arising from more nationalists reporting such crimes to the police.

  • fair_deal

    George

    It has been going on and increasing since 2004. The stats for previous years.
    Link 4

  • BogExile

    ‘…developing acceptance of the equal legitimacy of the nationalist and unionist identities’

    CD:

    What do you actually mean by this?

    From your perspective I would guess that the imperative is to reduce, remove and dilute any overt signs of Britishness from Nothern Ireland. To some of the munters who take place in attacking and vandalising Orange Halls this is the logical extension of the direction of travel.

    That the Halls have a religious significance to Protestants who use them is lost on those carrying out the attacks.

    The truth is that they wish to eradicate any non-republican presence from what they perceive as their territory. Whatever rudimentary social skills they posess, they would be less able to do this if there was a clear lead from republicans at grass roots level that this is acceptable or right. I just don’t believe that this is happening. These people aren’t rocket scientests. They can be caught if the republican community wants them to be caught. I accept that there has been welcome signs with the return of a stolen banner that this is happening in isolated cases.

    However, you are dealing with people who wouldn’t know the difference between Woolf Tone and a ring tone let alone recognise how their actions pervert the espoused non-secular Irish republicanism that these actions reveal you are still so far from achieving.

  • Chris Donnelly

    From your perspective I would guess that the imperative is to reduce, remove and dilute any overt signs of Britishness from Nothern Ireland

    Bogex

    Your premise is false, obviously emanating from a jaundiced view of how nationalists/ republicans percieve unionism today.

    Check the record. Sinn Fein, as the largest nationalist party, have made quite clear on countless occasions the party’s support for the right of unionists to express and celebrate their cultural identity.

    Furthermore, in an unprecedented step- yet to be reciprocated by any strand of political unionism- Sinn Fein endorsed a policy of seeking ‘equality or neutrality’ regarding the display of flags and emblems from civic buildings here, a stance utterly at odds with what you allege is the ‘republican’ agenda of wishing to eradicate signs of Britishness.

    Now, let me ask you a question: do you, as a unionist, accept the right and entitlement of nationalists to display the Irish tricolour and other symbols and emblems associated with nationalism, even if that means predominantly unionist communities having to tolerate such an exhibition in their midst?

    If we are to go down the road of truly exposing ‘shared space’ and even predominantly ‘other tradition’ space to the lofty notion of universal tolerance of cultural/ political identity, than that the logical outcome.

  • jp

    the same people who are here saying “ooh ya we condemn.. no right thinking person..devoid of republican blah blah blah” would be screaming pogrom if this figure was for attacks on Catholic usage Buildings, and calling for the sterilization of the Shankill etc.

    the rather automated response to this seems more from a sense of political discretion than genuine concern, as evidenced by the gung ho response we get to the converse incidents.

  • observer

    so they cant kill orange men now , so nationalists just attack their halls

  • observer

    Now, let me ask you a question: do you, as a unionist, accept the right and entitlement of nationalists to display the Irish tricolour and other symbols and emblems associated with nationalism, even if that means predominantly unionist communities having to tolerate such an exhibition in their midst? –

    the only flag that should be flown is the flag of the country the Union flag, only a bigot would argue otherwise

  • Sean

    Mick
    Good attempt at linking the attacks to the IRA

    Could this not just be children who consider that the orange halls are free and easy targets for venting back the agresion they feel coming from the order every July?

    And frankly a little paint on a wall or even the occasional arson is pretty minor considering that the loyalist communities measured response to it all is the beating death or the attempted beating death of catholic children.

  • kensei

    “the rather automated response to this seems more from a sense of political discretion than genuine concern, as evidenced by the gung ho response we get to the converse incidents.”

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, and the precise same argument could be levelled towards Unionism. It is unfortunately human nature to get more worked over things that involve you.

    The figure is worrying. As fd points out the number of low level incidents, at least recorded incidents, have been rising since 2004. The responsibility to deal with it lies with the police. Personally, i reckon they should use a policy to clamp down on low level crimes similar to that used in New York, as described in the “Tipping Point”.

    observer
    “the only flag that should be flown is the flag of the country the Union flag, only a bigot would argue otherwise”

    Irony explosion.

  • Ian

    Observer:

    “the only flag that should be flown is the flag of the country the Union flag, only a bigot would argue otherwise”

    “I’m right, only a bigot would disagree with me.”

  • BogExile

    ‘do you, as a unionist, accept the right and entitlement of nationalists to display the Irish tricolour and other symbols and emblems associated with nationalism, even if that means predominantly unionist communities having to tolerate such an exhibition in their midst?’

    CD:

    If Nationalists accept the concommittant responsibility to only display those symbols of aspiration/identification in areas where they are not expressly calculated to increase alienation – i.e in mixed areas. town centres or predominantly Protestant areas, certainly not ‘in their midst.’

    And before you break out the sauce for the Goose, this would equally apply to Protestant symbols with the exception of the Union Flag which is not a protestant symbol rather the expression of a geopolitcal fact which i believe the GFA recognised in the preamble.

    ‘All flags are equal, one is more equal than others.’ Tough luck, you’re on the wrong side of the line. If you manage to persuade me into a United Ireland, I’ll wrap myself in your flag too 🙂

  • Dread Cthulhu

    FD: “Sorry for banging on but the need for police to prioritise low-level sectarian crime is a hobby horse of mine. ”

    An apt image — you ride and ride, yet get nowhere, sorry to say.

    Some of this is a natural reaction to the time of the year — the celebration of a young catholic’s murder, the attempt to recreate the same, along with the various and lovely other examples of sectarian hatred demonstrated by Unionists, such as the display on Lower Ormeau Road.

    When a community sees crimes and insults inflicted upon them and no credible response from the powers that be, inevitably some hot-head decides to take matters into their own hands and respond to hate with hate. It is foolish and counter-productive, but it is all too human.

    The saddest part is is that there will *always* be something to fight about for some.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Bog Exile: “And before you break out the sauce for the Goose, this would equally apply to Protestant symbols with the exception of the Union Flag which is not a protestant symbol rather the expression of a geopolitcal fact which i believe the GFA recognised in the preamble. ”

    Iow, all flags are to be equal, except the one you subscribe to, which will be more equal than any of the rest.

  • BogExile

    I didn’t decide my identity. It was conferred upon me by the location of my birth which was this . I actually hold an Irish passport which is dead handy when i pop into Damascus for a packet of fags.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    BogExile: “I didn’t decide my identity. It was conferred upon me by the location of my birth which was this.”

    Ever hear of free-will? You are completely free to decide who and what you are.

    BogExile: “I actually hold an Irish passport which is dead handy when i pop into Damascus for a packet of fags. ”

    I guess there’s accounting for some tastes… 😉

    Most of the crazies won’t bother to look at your passport if they decide Allah wants another dead infidel. And Damascus is the crossroads for crazies.

  • Reader

    Dread Cthulhu: Ever hear of free-will? You are completely free to decide who and what you are.
    And yet, in practice, almost everyone gets their long term identity from their family
    Dread Cthulhu: When a community sees crimes and insults inflicted upon them and no credible response from the powers that be, inevitably some hot-head decides to take matters into their own hands and respond to hate with hate.
    Well, the 50 lodges directly affected (with no credible response etc.) may contain some hot-heads of their own. Or was that included in your point? I can’t tell whether you were were doing ‘Vicious Circle’ or ‘Our guys were Provoked.’

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Reader: “Well, the 50 lodges directly affected (with no credible response etc.) may contain some hot-heads of their own.”

    I specifically wrote that passage without identity markers. Of course they may contain hot-heads of their own, Reader.

    As for your question as to my conclusion, consider that it might be both. To understand the chain, we need look at segments of links. Were Catholics likely provoked by the antics on the Ormeau, the celebratory commemoration of young Master McIlveen’s death at least one bonfire and the grieveous beating of a youth that echoed that death? Does acknowledging that fact somehow invalidate the broader point that there is negative feed-back loop at work in this mess that requires members of both parties to maintain?

    My personal belief is that the sectarian violence is down to those remaining few whose personal identity is maintain only through violence and sectarian hatred and those who have more passion than sense. The latter will always be with us. Of the former, their vision of their own self-worth is only measured by the pain they inflict on others and the hatred they generate in return — think of them as trolls, but using banners, clubs, guns and incendiary devices, rather than the Internet.

  • Ian

    “Tough luck, you’re on the wrong side of the line. If you manage to persuade me into a United Ireland, I’ll wrap myself in your flag too :)”

    That would be the logical outworking of Unionists’ argument. But I suspect if a UI came about they’d change the goalposts pretty quickly and demand the right to continue to fly the “butcher’s apron”.

  • Reader

    Ian: That would be the logical outworking of Unionists’ argument.
    It depends on the particular unionist, doesn’t it? Personally, I think I have the right to fly either the butcher’s apron or the bomber’s shroud in any of the 32 counties. And I have no actual inclination to fly either flag, anywhere.
    But if all that flag business was just a metaphor, well, I would still be a unionist in a UI.

  • nmc

    Allow me to start by saying that these attacks are obviously wrong, and represent the way backwards instead of forwards.

    Swiftly casting an eye over the figures from Link one in FD’s post I note that the vast majority of these attacks occur in the summer months. Obviously this is marching season, and a rise might be expected, but it strikes me that this is the time when the schools are out and these actions strike me as the actions of kids.

    Summer break rolls around and parents all over the place dump their kids out the door first thing in the morning and lock them out all day, presumably so mummy’s little darlings can’t wreck their own homes, but rather they should go out and wreck something (anything) else.

    I’ve heard some really terrifying stories about what some parents do in response to unacceptable behaviour from their own kids. It staggers belief what some people consider parenting, but I would welcome a move to hold parents partially responsible for the actions of their young.

  • BogExile

    ‘But I suspect if a UI came about they’d change the goalposts pretty quickly.’

    No way, I’d become an enthusiastic irish Unionist and set about destabilising the state through a campaign of pointless violence…

    Ah.

  • darth rumsfeld

    To round up some points-

    There are approximately 800 Orange halls
    in Ireland- a fairly static total.

    Some of the attacks might indeed be the work of bored yoofs. But others are planned by groups of men who climb on roofs, lever off slates, and pour in petrol, or smash down security doors- in once case driving a JCB through a wall. These are coordinated and require at least three men, time, planning, and considerable physical effort.

    Interestingly , most attacks occur in rural areas or hamlets with large RC populations, far away from the problems in Belfast or Ballymena which some are apparently attributing as motive/justification. The orangemen in these areas are generally the type habitually and condescendingly referred to as the “I’m sure there are many decent Orangemen, but…”on such threads by nationalists.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>“I’m sure there are many decent Orangemen, but…”on such threads by nationalists.<

  • Sean

    Darth having witnessed enough vandalism in my time I say you are completely wrong.

    They are almost universally a crime of opportunity and I have seen great effort expended by mindless little shits once they have achieved group think and action. One little shit has to one up the other little shit and things escalate exponentionaly.

    And before you accuse me of being an apologist for the little shits I am the one who has generally had to pay for the repairs from these little shits as its my equipment damaged and insurance will just increase my payments if I make a claim

  • BogExile

    ‘Anyone wishing to defend bigotry can go right ahead….’

    Says the man who has just demonstrated his complete intolerance of the rights of tens of thousands of people to belong to a religious organisation.

    You patently ludicrous man.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>P.E. — Please let’s not have anyone equate the hateful OO with Protestantism it is embarrassing for real Prods for you to do so. Anyone wishing to defend bigotry can go right ahead, just don’t expect to have a cloak of legitimacy go unchallenged.< <>>Bog — Says the man who has just demonstrated his complete intolerance of the rights of tens of thousands of people to belong to a religious organisation.<

  • lib2016

    Always amusing when the people who so proudly describe thenselves as ‘British Protestants’ so obviously drag both descriptions into the mud. Indeed most Brits would say that there’s something very Irish about it all….as there is, of course. Makes the joke all the funnier.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Darth Rumsfeld: “Interestingly , most attacks occur in rural areas or hamlets with large RC populations, far away from the problems in Belfast or Ballymena which some are apparently attributing as motive/justification. The orangemen in these areas are generally the type habitually and condescendingly referred to as the “I’m sure there are many decent Orangemen, but…”on such threads by nationalists. ”

    And you think there are no papers or televisions out in the sticks, Darth? That the images from the big city don’t make their way out to the small hamlets?

    As for the “good” OO v. the “bad” OO, mayhap the good suffer for the misdeeds of the bad — the danger of being an institution — your reputation is only as good, at least in some quarters, as the worst members of that institution.

    Sean: “They are almost universally a crime of opportunity and I have seen great effort expended by mindless little shits once they have achieved group think and action. One little shit has to one up the other little shit and things escalate exponentionaly. ”

    While I disagree with nothing you have to say here, if the dissident bits of the Catholic half of the alphabet soup gangs (CIRA, RIRA, etc.) are willing to torch budget retail stores, do you imagine its that far a reach that they might, just might, torch a few OO lodges, given the right motivation and opportunity?

  • Sean

    Dread

    Nothing I have seen I would equate with organization or planning. If it was organized and planned a great deal more damage would have been done then a bit of scorch and smoke damage and some banners burnt.

    As for why it happens in heavily republican populated areas? where the hell do you imagine it will happen in the middle of the Shankhill?

  • lib2016

    Darth,

    The ‘good OO’ died a very public death on the hill at Drumcree. I have never seen any mention of a ‘decent Orangeman’ from any nationalist poster on this site, or anywhere else for that matter, for the last ten years at least. Nor have I seen such a reference in any real British forum as opposed to the local rags.

    Why do you suppose that is?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sean: “Nothing I have seen I would equate with organization or planning.”

    Well, I doubt they would lay out their plans in the middle of the street, now would they?

    Also, we’re not talking a commando squad, but dregs of militant Republicanism — the one’s with insufficient hope or ability to function in the absence of armed conflict.

    Sean: “If it was organized and planned a great deal more damage would have been done then a bit of scorch and smoke damage and some banners burnt. ”

    As I recall, the dissident’s bombing of the TK Maxx did not result in a total loss, but I could be mistaken. As I said, we’re not talking a clutch of highly trained personnel with unlimited access to specialized gear.

    Sean: “As for why it happens in heavily republican populated areas? where the hell do you imagine it will happen in the middle of the Shankhill? ”

    I didn’t make any comment or question as to locality, Sean. But since you ask, the sort that feel the need to express their superiority or vent their frustration through anonymous acts of vandalism strike me as the sort who would prefer coward’s odds — hence the striking during the night, etc.

  • The Third Policeman

    Is this not a prime example of the need for the devolution of policing & justice? It seems the PSNI are happy to let these low level sectarian attacks continue without any serious investigations or inquiries. Now what does a few scorched orange halls mean to some yahoo in West Minster? Nothing. The OO should call for devolution of policing as soon as possible, with the aim to getting some charges brought forward.

  • Kevster

    I seem to find myself leaning to the bored kid theory here.

    I don’t think grown men would be satisfied with vandalising the halls. More than likely, in my opinion, they would be more inclined to either burn them down or blow them up.

    If that is the case, then the place to stop this nonsense is in the home. Failing that, local authorities need to step in. I do agree with the previous poster that made the point that devolved policing would put the responsibility for dealing with this in the hands of people who have more at stake in the outcome.

    This may be an issue, if properly exploited, where republicans can show the kind of leadership that allays the obvious fears unionists have in devolving policing. There have been some signs of that already, e.g. the returned banner.

  • Sean

    Dread odds is odds only a fool bucks the odds and makes bad decisions to attack a hall in a loyalist heartland where the maximum penalty could be death. Much better to do it within nationalist areas where most will turn a blind eye and not see anything.

  • Outsider

    These topics all start the same way, nationalists condemn the attacks to begin with, then bigotry overtakes them and they start to claim the OO deserve to be attacked.

    I must say opinions from Nationalists on this site is by no means mainstream and simply represents a twisted perverse sterotype that is unfair to associate with the majority of Nationalists across NI.

  • lets sort it

    By Cthulu’s ‘logic’, the next time an Orange Hall is attacked, the UDA should burn a catholic church down.

  • Sean

    Outsider what you are reading is your own bigotry

    Even I an inveterant anti orange disorder person does not believe these attacks are right but to try and portray the oo as a benevolent christian organisation is the heights of delusion.

    they are a bunch of unrepentant bigots who deserve little or no consideration.

    but if they are willing to become human then I am willing to let them try.

  • I don’t agree with the attacks on the Klan huts as I believe the OO will in time disappear into embarassed obscurity. These attacks will delay this inevitable. The OO should be protested against in a non violent manner and their parades should be observed and monitored – failure to adhere to the rules (ie. Bratty banner) should be highlighted w govt and rule-breaking bands and lodges fined to oblivion.

    Darth, your posting is the height of hypocracy. For you to complain about an attack on a historical focal point of a community is pathetic – ‘lest we forget’, you are the one who gloated on this site about urinating on the Michael Collins statue in Cork. The OO hall attackers are no diff from your bigotted self.

  • Roisin

    nmc,

    Going off on a tangent for a moment;

    [i]presumably so mummy’s little darlings can’t wreck their own homes, but rather they should go out and wreck something (anything) else.[/i]

    Not daddy’s little darlings?

    The casual sexism that pervades so much commentary, either directly or by going almost completely unnoticed and unchallenged, on this site always amuses me.

    [i]but I would welcome a move to hold parents partially responsible for the actions of their young.[/i]

    Bring a civil case, prove contributory negligence. Or are you reaching for the reactionary right wing territory of convicting people without evidence?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I have never seen any mention of a ‘decent Orangeman’ from any nationalist poster on this site, or anywhere else for that matter, for the last ten years at least. Nor have I seen such a reference in any real British forum as opposed to the local rags.

    Why do you suppose that is?”

    Because you’re overdosed on your own MOPEry.
    Still it’s good to learn that none of us is nice,we’re all bad – only a short step from “Hell slap it up them”, and suddenly you’re teetering on a precipice.

    “are you reaching for the reactionary right wing territory of convicting people without evidence?

    Posted by Roisin on Jul 20, 2007 @ 06:41 AM”

    …er, you mean like all those shinners on another thread who repeatedly accused a man called Bratty of being a multiple murderer. For all I know they’re correct- but I’m not sure they would like being called right wing reactionaries.

    I imagine they’ll argue he was never charged or convicted with the terrible crimes he’s accused of because of some great securocrat collusionist conspiracy- again perfectly possible, but again unfortunately unsupported by hard evidence.

    MOPEists again repeatedly accuse a man called Nixon of having been responsible for the notorious McMahon family murders in 1921. But the only time the allegation was tested in a court was when he sued the Derry Journal for libel- note with a lower standard of proof than in a criminal case- and won. It is universally believed in nationalism that he was responsible. I don’t know. But the evidence didn’t convince a jury.

    So it’s not that easy to find evidence, which of course should have been put before a court in both of these heinous crimes and any other case if it existed.

  • DK

    Are these halls not used by a variety of groups, not just the OO, although the OO own them (or do they).

    So the victims of the attacks are not just the OO, but the local women’s guild or whatever.

  • Gréagóir O’ Franclín

    Such attacks on halls in NI have to be condemned. It’s just utter thuggery.

  • Roisin

    darth rumsfeld,

    [i]…er, you mean like all those shinners on another thread who repeatedly accused a man called Bratty of being a multiple murderer. For all I know they’re correct- but I’m not sure they would like being called right wing reactionaries.[/i]

    No, that’s not what I meant. I meant that if minors are convicted in criminal courts, the proponents of penalising (convicting?) the parents for their children’s crimes should apply, at a minimum, the same standards of evidence for contributory negligence as are applied in the civil courts.

    Hope that clears up any misunderstanding, if there ever was one.

  • Outsider

    Sean

    I am doubting whether you are a genuine poster at all or just a trouble maker as your posts make no sense at all.