DUP BRAND ORANGE HALL FLAG THEFT A ‘HATE CRIME’

A man captured on video climbing up flag pole at Whiterock Orange Hall

A man captured on video climbing up flag pole at Whiterock Orange Hall

THE DUP has condemned the theft of the Union Flag from the flag pole at Whiterock Orange Hall, Springfield Road in West Belfast.

In June, the same Orange Hall was targeted in an arson attack.

The theft is now being investigated by the PSNI.

Great Shankill DUP councillor Brian Kingston said: “The theft of the Union Flag from outside Whiterock Orange Hall was a blatant cultural hate crime.”

He said the hall management committee told him that the flag was stolen at around 5.25am last Saturday morning, 20th July.

Video footage posted on social media shows a nationalist youth climbing the flagpole and tearing down the Union Flag.

At the same another man on the video is heard saying: ‘Kill All Huns’.

Added Councillor Kingston: “The new flag pole and flag was erected just two weeks previous, in time for the Twelfth.

“Clearly it was too much for some nationalists to tolerate that the Unionist community in west Belfast should be allowed to fly our national flag at an Orange Hall for a couple of weeks each summer.

“Those responsible demonstrate only their own pathetic bigotry and sectarianism.

“Last month this Hall was damaged in a sectarian arson attack when a wheelie bin was pushed against the back door and set on fire.

“These attacks will only strengthen the resolve of the Unionist community in the Highfield/Springfield area not to be cowed.

“I have no doubt that this hate crime was designed to increase tensions at an already tense time. I would appeal for calm and for no escalation.

“For those within the nationalist/republican community who would claim that this act does not represent them, I would urge them to be clear and unequivocal in their condemnation and to join me in appealing for information to be brought forward which will help the police to catch those responsible.

“Their identities will be known to some and that information must be passed on.”

In a statement, the PSNI said: “Police received a report of the theft of a flag from an Orange Hall in the Dunboyne Park area of West Belfast.

“We are aware of a video which has been posted on the internet and will examine this as part of the investigation along with any other evidence.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact us on 0845 600 8000.”

 

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