Saturday, 1 December 2012

Sectarian attacks on Orange halls

Fourscore Orange Hall
There it was tucked away in the top corner of the Belfast Telegraph (Friday 30 November), in a column entitled 'news in brief'.  It was a single short paragraph with no photograph and you could easily have missed it.
Arson attempt on Orange hall
Damage has been caused to the roof of an Orange hall by would-be arsonists.  Sometime between Tuesday evening and 5.30 pm on Wednesday, someone climbed on to the roof of the hall in the Garlandstown Road area of Glenavy and tried to set it alight.  damage was caused to roof tiles and guttering.  Police are appealing for information.
Such are the priorities of the Belfast Telegraph that the attempted arson attack on Fourscore Orange Hall merited just 63 words. 
There was no mention of the fact that the hall was destroyed in two previous arson attacks or the fact that there has been a series of arson attacks in recent months on the nearby Glenavy Protestant Hall.
Moreover the newspaper failed to report another sectarian attack on an Orange hall. Republican graffiti was daubed on the exterior walls of Loughanreagh Orange Hall in Coleraine.
Surely if there has been a series of arson attacks on Orange halls in a particular area, as is the case at Fourscore and Glenavy, then it deserves more attention and should not be relegated to a brief and cursory report in the corner of a page.  Does such sectarian behaviour not deserve to be highlighted and exposed?
For many years there has been a campaign of sectarian attacks on Orange halls and these are just the latest attacks.  When they occur they are condemned by the Orange Order and by unionist politicians but what about the other voices that need to be heard?  Where are the voices of civic society and especially, where are the voices of church leaders, both Protestant and Roman Catholic?  What are local newspapers, radio and television doing to recognise and report the onging, long-term and widespread sectarian campaign against Orange halls and against the Orange community?
The attack at Fourscore Orange Hall was neither unique nor unusual.  Indeed this very hall has been destroyed by sectarian arsonists on two occasions.  So how can the Belfast Telegraph justify the brevity of its report and how long must we wait for church leaders to speak out against such sectarian behaviour?
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has news releases about both attacks on its website and you can read them there.

1 comment:

  1. It was tucked away up there because nobody gives a feck about the orange order. Ulsters shame.