Castlewellan GAA hall attacked

It seems increasing likely that an arson attack on a Castlewellan GAA hall had a sectarian motivation. The hall also functions as a local comunity centre. Sinn Fein has appealed for calm and blamed negative comments about the GAA. The DUP has called for attacks to cease and the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order has said:

“An arson attack on any community hall is an attack on the whole community and must be condemned by everyone. Anyone with any information about this attack should contact the police immediately.”

  • Eoin

    Well full marks to the Grand Secretary of the Ornage Lodge.

  • joeCanuck

    Agree, Eoin. It is encouraging when all sides condemn all such attacks.

  • Mick Fealty

    Looking likely, although yet to be confirmed.

    There’s a no win situation for both communities in that area. There’s a long history on both sides. Ballywillwill Orange Hall is a tiny isolated building and has been attacked many times to the point of a complete rebuild a few years back.

    St John’s one of the most populous and vibrant clubs in the county, so I am sure it will get back up on its feet again. But cross community solidarity of this sort is probably the best way to bring them to an end.

    People should be free to criticise the Orange and/or the GAA without feeling they might be encouraging someone to light a match somewhere else.

    Puts me in mind of that ‘church watch’ thread we had a while back…

  • RepublicanStones

    Kudos to the Orange master. A couple of little hoods on both sides ruin it for everyone. The fact is, this sort of vandalism against both Orange halls and GAA clubs will more than likely result in them being rennovated to a higher spec than they were before. Surely not the result the wee maggots had in mind, but then again inbreeding isn’t adviseable, unless you wanna play the banjo real well !

  • McGrath

    I have played football on numerous occasions at St Johns. After a considerable absence, I was back there to watch a match/umpire a match a few weeks ago and was very impressed with the advancements made at the club facilities and grounds. Not so long ago someone who have to go find the ball in the river if it went wide. The changing facilities, while adequate were very basic. Now there are new facilities, a second pitch, fenced with catch netting etc the whole thing is a testament to the achievement and efforts of the local community.

    I feel the most sympathy for the key members of the club, the ones who have been around for years, the ones who always had to go begging for money and typically got the middle finger for their efforts but carried on regardless.

    When a facility like this is attacked, it isn’t revenge for the behaviour of one of two individuals who quite probably have no association with the club and at best would be on the pierrefrey of it. Its an attack on years of work my many decend and generous people who would help a protestant neighbour as quickly as anyone else.

    I wish St Johns the best for this weekend and also for their divisional promotion, hopefully this incident will be motivation rather than a distraction.

  • The attacks on Orange halls and Gaa clubs are the work of morons on both sides

  • English

    This is just another example of why I left Northern Ireland for the Free State. The fact is – you will NEVER get on, there are two sides of the house in NI and that is that. Just look at Stormont, it’s hardly up and running and they cannot face each other. Why would I want to bring up my children surrounded by such bigotry and intolerace. We are all happier over the border, where we live side by side with our neighbours, no matter what religion or background. It’s just a pity about the odd unwelcome northern gunslinger (like last night).

  • Rapunsel

    Really feel for the guys in this club. As soon as I heard it guessed it might have been in response to the attack on Ballywillwill hall.

    Live not too far away and over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a lot of ira graffiti has appeared around the district. Only been in the club house once and that was after a 10k road race in the summer where the hospitality and refreshments were excellent. I’ve no doubt a bigger and better facility will emerge and lets hope the perpetrators of all such attacks are caught.

  • Alan Maskey

    An Orange hall got it this time, with McGuinness condeming. Is it tit for tat in condemning too? Some good comments above.

  • Alan Maskey

    By this I mean Orange order condemns GAA attack and McGuinness condemns Orange Hall attack.
    Did the Provis atack such halls in their heyday?
    Also, can some Orangeman tell me: just what percentage of Protestants (or hoever) use Orange halls? If Billy is trying to get a hall for his Rose Society/RNLI/whatever bash, is the Orange hall near the first port of call?
    ie, outside of band practice and Orange meetings, are they widely used? Are the rates they charge to aceptable social bodies competitive? Just asking, curiosity and the cat.

  • These attacks are symptoms of the ‘unfinished business’ of the constitutional question so they are going to flare up from time to time. Even if the older generation calls a truce the following one will pick up the baton and carry on.

  • Alan Maskey

    Fair enough I suppose. But if the Orange Halls are widley used outside of the Orange Order/Flute band fraternity – by boxing clubs, rose appreciation societies, bible reading groups, the dissidents have a problem. I doubt, in any case, if this is the work of serious dissidents. A lot of risk for little return. But maybe I have a topsy turvy understanding of their thinking

  • I think it’s part of the ‘war by other means’, Alan, or representative violence. For example, a lady from Dunloy who had set up a business in Bushmills quite a few years ago came unstuck when Republicans decided to confront the OO in Dunloy. The ‘retaliation’ isn’t always local.