ATTACKS on the Apprentice Boys' headquarters in Derry will not detract from efforts to build a shared community, tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said yesterday. Hundreds of pounds worth of damage was caused when paint bombs were thrown at the Memorial Hall in the city. The attacks come just days before the loyal order launches its Maiden City Carnival, leading up to the Relief of Derry march. The annual August parade draws thousands of Apprentice Boys to the city. Tanaiste and Dublin Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Gilmore said the Derry attacks followed similar incidents involving Orange halls across the north. "Both governments and the political leaders in Northern Ireland are determined that attacks such as these will not detract from the good work being carried out at community level," he said.
Governor of the organisation Jim Brownlee condemned those behind the attacks. "They are of a sectarian mindset whereby they feel it is right and proper to paint bomb what they see as a hall that is nothing to do with what they believe in," he said. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness described the attack as "shameful" while Foyle MP Mark Durkan said the latest incident was an attack on the community in Derry. Ulster Unionist Association chairman Ronnie McKeegan called for an increased police presence around the Memorial Hall in the run-in to the Maiden City Carnival. The attacks were also condemned by the Alliance Party. Chief Inspector Jon Burrows, the police area commander for Foyle, pledged to review security although he ruled out "static attention" to the Memorial Hall.
■ DAMAGE: Mark Durkan, left, and Philip Gillen outside the Apprentice Boys' Memorial Hall in Derry