Two Orange Halls were attacked in County Antrim over the weekend. A tractor was used to force open a door at Tullaghans Orange Hall on Bravallan Road in Ballymoney and drums and furniture inside the building were also damaged. In an apparently related incident a tractor was also used to knock down a wall and damage the door at Granagh Independent Orange Hall in Rasharkin. Local DUP councillor John Finlay condemned both attacks which he described as “blatantly sectarian” and said they were an attempt to stir sectarian tensions in the area.
“The use of a large mechanical machine demonstrates great determination of local republicans to create maximum destruction.”
“Some people just do not want a Protestant about the place,” he added.
Jim Allister has suggested much the same: …The conclusion that this Sinn Fein controlled community does not want a Prod about the place is inescapable. I have not doubt that if Sinn Fein wanted these constant attacks to stop then they could bring them to an end. Instead Sinn Fein seeks, enjoys and exploits the community instability and tension which they create.
There have of course been a spate of sectarian attacks in this area of North Antrim and the adjoining area of County Londonderry with Protestant and Catholic churches, Orange and AOH Halls and business premises attacked in what at times has seemed to be a tit for tat fashion. In truth community relations have never been good in that area but they seem to be progressively deteriorating with no obvious end in sight.