Orange hall damaged in overnight arson attack

Credit: UTV

An Orange hall in Co Londonderry has been extensively damaged in what police believe was a deliberate attack.

A local resident discovered the fire at the Salterstown Orange Hall, near Ballyronan, at around 4am on Monday and raised the alarm.

According to the Orange Order, the interior of the building sustained substantial damage with a lodge banner, collarettes and instruments belonging to a local band destroyed in the blaze.

Members of the Salterstown lodge are said to be "in a complete state of shock".

"We are absolutely devastated that our property should be targeted insuch a manner, and are simply crestfallen by the scene of devastation inflictedby the abhorrent individuals responsible," a spokesman said.

“The hall has been a part of community life for over 100 years, serving as a meeting place for local groups, and its unavailability for a period will be keenly felt," he added.

“Despite this major setback, the lodge and the wider Orange fraternity will rally around and ensure our hall is once again fully restored," he concluded.

Ulster Unionist MLA Sandra Overend said "it's totally heartbreaking".

"The members have explained to be the history here - how a man came back from the war and made the ceiling in the inside of the Orange hall by hand".

"They've lost history here," she added.