'Narrow-minded bigotry': Disgust at 'despicable' attack on Armagh Orange hall
A Ulster Unionist councillor has condemned a 'disgusting' attack on an Orange Hall in Co Armagh, which police are treating as a hate crime.
A number of Pro-IRA slogans and offensive symbols were graffited on the wall of the building at Crosskeys Road in Keady.
Police believe that it was sprayed on the Orange Hall at sometime between 10pm on Monday night and Tuesday morning. They are treating the incident as a sectarian hate crime.
Councillor Sam Nicholson said: “I am totally disgusted at the low life thugs who under the cover of night have sprayed sectarian and offensive slogans across the front of my local Orange Hall, which is the home of Crosskeys LOL 88. “It is a despicable act and abhorrent that anyone could stoop so low.
"Our local community feels violated by this incident and people in the area are shocked and saddened that there are those who would seek to inflict misery and heartache upon our lodge and our band.
"We simply want to be respected and be able to celebrate our Orange culture but clearly our very existence is too much for some who are so insecure in their own culture and identity that they feel the need to attack the symbols of others. "
He continued: “This is nothing less than narrow-minded bigotry.
"It is not just an attack on bricks and mortar, this is an attack on Unionists and the Orange Order and the many people in the community who use this facility.
"I utterly condemn those responsible. There can be no place in society for this bitterness and hatred and it speaks volumes about the perpetrators.
“I have been in contact with the police to report this matter and also share the views and distress of the local community.
Cllr Nicholson also called on 'all political leaders' to condemn the perpetrators behind attacks on Orange halls.
He said: "It speaks volumes that this hall has to have security shutters across all its windows and doors in the first place.
“I appeal to anyone with information to report it to the PSNI by contacting them on 101.”
SDLP MLA Justin McNulty said it was a disgraceful attack.
He added: "Given the nature of the graffiti it is clear that this was an attack on the people who use this hall and there is no support for it within this community, nor is there any place for it within our society.
"Everyone must have the right to celebrate their culture and traditions in peace without having to worry about incidents like this.
"People in this community want to live alongside one another in a spirit of peace and friendship and incidents like this only serve to upset people and achieve nothing.
"Sectarianism is a blight on our society and we all have a responsibility to call it out and stamp it out so we don't see attacks like this happening in this day and age."
A PSNI spokesperson said enquiries into the incident, which is being treated as a sectarian hate crime, are ongoing.
They have appealed to anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the area, or who has any information which could assist, to contact police in Armagh.
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