Orange Hall reopens in Co Donegal two years after arson

Alan Laird, Worshipful Master of Thiepval Memorial L.O.L. 1005, Convoy. Credit: Keith Moore

An Orange hall in Co Donegal has re-opened its doors - two years after being destroyed in an arson attack.

Convoy Orange Hall was targeted in October 2014, just weeks after nearby Newtowncunningham Orange hall was destroyed in a similar attack.

Members of Thiepval Memorial LOL 1005 were joined at Saturday’s formal reopening and dedication service by senior Orangemen, including the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson.

Also in attendance were Deputy Grand Master Harold Henning and Grand Chaplain Rev Mervyn Gibson, who officiated the religious service.

Convoy Worshipful Master Alan Laird expressed his delight at the completion of the two-year rebuilding project.

He said: “The opening of our new hall is a tremendous accomplishment for all those associated with this substantial rebuild project. The upgraded hall has been built for the use of the local community with the long term in mind.

“We trust it will be utilised not only by the lodge and pipe band, but also the young people of the area. We are confident the property will be a wonderful asset for east Donegal for generations to come.”

Mr Laird also commended members of the Loyal Orders from across the British Isles who contributed to the Convoy hall appeal, set up in the aftermath of the criminal act.

Mr Stevenson offered his congratulations to the members of the Convoy lodge at the official opening.

The Grand Master said: “It is tremendous to see this community facility rise again from the ashes and fully restored to its former glory. Its renewed and improved presence is testament to the fortitude and resilience of the Protestant and Orange fraternity in the Donegal area.

“The lodge has a proud military heritage, most notably during the Great War, and therefore it is particularly fitting that such a redevelopment occur in this, the centenary year of the Battle of the Somme.

“The new Convoy hall will stand as not only a tribute to those former members, but also in its everyday operation will provide a lasting legacy for future generations.”