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Co Donegal Orange Hall re-opens exactly four years to the day after being destroyed in an arson attack

Newtowncunningham Orange Hall in Co Donegal was re-opened on Friday night, four years to the day after it was destroyed in an arson attack
John Monaghan

AN ORANGE Hall has re-opened exactly four years after it was destroyed in an arson attack.

Newtowncunningham Orange Hall in Co Donegal, close to the Derry border, was targeted in an arson attack in September 2014.

It had only been open since 2011 after being damaged in a deliberate fire the previous year.

On Friday night, four years to the exact day of the blaze which destroyed the hall, a dedication service was held to mark its official re-opening.

A memorial stone commemorating local Orangemen who died in World War One has been restored, as has the lodge Bible, which was found among the debris following the fire.

Newtowncunningham Deputy Master, Stewart McClean, said the rebuild had been a "tremendous accomplishment" and thanked the Irish government who made a financial contribution to the project.

"The upgraded property has been built for use by the local community and will be utilised not only by the lodge and accordion band, but also a range of groups and organisations in the area.

"We are confident the hall will be a wonderful asset for east Donegal for generations to come," he said.

The fire in 2014 occurred just weeks before an Orange Hall in nearby Convoy was set alight.

Convoy Orange Hall also had to be rebuilt as a result of the attack on its premises and was re-opened two years ago.

Speaking at the time of the arson attack in Convoy, then deputy first minister Martin McGuinness said he was "horrified and disgusted".

"There wasn't anything republican about it, there wasn't anything political about it, but there was everything criminal about it," he said.

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