THE Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has condemned an arson attack on a shed belonging to Fernisky Drumming Club near Kells.
The structure, which was situated next to Fernisky Orange Hall, was burned to the ground sometime over the weekend.
A spokesperson for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said: “This act of wanton vandalism and destruction of property is totally unacceptable.
“Orange Halls, together with drumming clubs and band halls, are a vital resource for members of the Orange Family and often the wider community in rural areas.
“Attacks of this nature are to be condemned, particularly at a time when the entire Orange family has been working so hard to provide help and support to the wider community during the battle with Covid-19.
“Anyone with information about this incident should report it to police immediately,” the News Letter reports.
A PSNI spokesman said: “At around 7.30pm on Saturday evening police received a report of a fire at a property in the Fernisky Road area of Kells.
“It is understood the fire occurred during the early hours of Saturday morning and was attended to by NIFRS. Inquiries are continuing”.
Ballymena TUV councillor Cllr Matthew Armstrong said it had been a “scene of wanton destruction”.
He said: “A large shed was burned to the ground at the weekend. It is downright disgraceful and to be utterly condemned.
“Drumming clubs are an integral part of our Orange family and a prominent part of our culture.
“I would urge everyone to check their halls and outbuildings and secure them best they can. Anyone with information relating to the incident should contact the PSNI.”
Referring to pictures of the destruction, Alderman John Carson (DUP) said: “This is the devastating sight that greets you at Fernisky Orange Hall where over the weekend some low life set fire to a large shed belonging to the fife and drum club.
“Such sectarianism furthers no cause and only fuels tensions among communities. I am glad none of the drums were damaged in this attack and knowing the Ferniskey folk they will put this behind them and come back bigger and stronger.”
Police can be contacted by phoning 101 or a report can be made using the online reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport
Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org