Northern Ireland news

Vandalism of a Grade II-listed north Belfast Orange Hall is `sectarian hate crime' say police

North Belfast DUP assembly member William Humphrey said it was `utterly disgraceful'

VANDALISM of a Grade II-listed Orange Hall by "small-minded bigots" is being treated as a sectarian hate crime by police.

Belfast Orange Hall in Clifton Street in north Belfast, which is close to a former marching season flashpoint, was attacked days after the Twelfth of July parade in the area passed off peacefully.

The damage caused by two glass bottles full of paint being smashed against the railings and front wall was discovered on Sunday afternoon.

North Belfast DUP assembly member William Humphrey said it was "utterly disgraceful that this historic building has been targeted in an attack by small-minded bigots".

"This follows a pattern in previous years of the hall being attacked by republicans around the times when parades depart from the hall," he said.

"Those responsible demonstrate only their own moral depravity and sectarianism.

"The Orange Institution organised another wonderful Twelfth of July demonstration this year, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people across the province, and will not be deterred by hate crimes conducted against our halls.

"This attack must be condemned by all right-thinking people and I urge anyone who can assist the police investigation to contact the PSNI."

Inspector Natalie McNally appealed for any witnesses to the "criminal damage", which police believe happened on Sunday afternoon.

"White paint was thrown at the hall sometime after 1:30pm splattering a fence and wall.

"We are appealing for anyone who might have information about this, which is being treated as a sectarian hate crime, to contact us on 101 quoting 1665 of 14/07/19."

Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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