2 Orange Halls paint-bombed in N. Ireland

July 18, 2012 at 2:16 AM
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BELFAST, Northern Ireland, July 18 (UPI) -- Two Orange halls, gathering places for Northern Ireland's Protestant and loyalist Orange Order, were vandalized Tuesday, authorities said.

In Belfast, paint bombs were thrown at the Orange Hall on Clifton Street, a historic building, The Belfast Telegraph reported. The building has a protective structure around it because of previous vandalism but the front was damaged.

The hall in Glenavy, a village in County Antrim, was also paint-bombed.

Last Thursday, July 12, was the climax of the marching season, when loyalist groups hold parades to observe the anniversary of King William III's defeat of the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in Northern Ireland. This year, violence broke out in the Catholic Ardoyne neighborhood of Belfast, and there were accusations on both sides of provocation.

Tom Haire, the Belfast grand master, said the order has been trying to reach out across sectarian lines.

"Brethren in north Belfast have made great strides to make the hall a community facility for all and this attack was clearly carried out by people who have no respect or tolerance for a differing viewpoint," he said. "The Twelfth is now over and it is time for such lawlessness to stop."

Tierna Cunningham, deputy lord mayor and a member of the Republican Sinn Fein, condemned the vandalism. She said "these kinds of incidents serve absolutely no purpose."

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