Orange hall flag theft investigated

Published Monday, 14 July 2014
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A Union flag has been stolen from an Orange Hall in Londonderry and replaced with a republican flag in what police have described as a hate crime.

Orange hall flag theft investigated
Police are hunting three men in connection with the theft. (© UTV)

The flag was removed from the roof of the hall on the Coolafinny Road and replaced with a 32 County Sovereignty Movement flag.

The incident happened at around 11.15pm on Sunday.

It's believed three males may have been involved and were seen leaving the area in a white Seat Leon car, police said.

A spokeswoman added: "Police are treating the theft as a hate crime."

Deputy Mayor of Derry, Alderman Gary Middleton said he was "disgusted at the deeply offensive act".

He said: "I totally condemn this and fear for the community relations in the area.

"This is a very settled community and a lot has been done to help build relations.

"This sort of attack could increase tensions and I would call for calm and for no retaliation."

"We are very tolerant of all cultures in this city and we can't have attacks like this," the DUP representative added.

Across Northern Ireland so much work went into ensuring the Twelfth passed off peacefully but there are still people intent on undoing that good work.

Alderman Gary Middleton

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Fleming also condemned the incident and appealed for the flag to be returned.

He said: "Flags and symbols should be treated with respect and the theft of this flag must be condemned.

"We want to create a culture of tolerance and actions like this do nothing to contribute to that.

"This is no different to the destruction of tricolours on loyalist bonfires.

"I hope this will not do anything to raise community tensions in the area and I would appeal for the return of this flag to its owners."

Anyone with information is asked to contact officers at Strand Road police station on the non-emergency number 101.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Eglinton Resident in Eglinton wrote (198 days ago):
You’re all missing the point, this Village has it’s own culture. 1 of tolerance and cross community relations that involve both religions actively socialising, working and living together… no peace walls, no animosity, no themuns and usesuns….. 1 community living together…. How it should be and a world far removed from the sectarian polarisation of Belfast and other places still living in a hate filled past. What was done here, was completely out of order and this flag should be returned and an apology made by the person(s) responsible.
Mr right in United Kingdom wrote (198 days ago):
Sacha, take the blinkers off, I see countless union flags burnt on interment fires. Open your eyes. One
shamrock in Belfast wrote (199 days ago):
One poxxy union 'fleg' and it's all hands to the pumps for the PSNI to hunt down these dastardly gangsters whilst they drive serenely past loyalist bonfires bedecked with tricolours, posters, statutes etc. Talk about a one sided, myopic so called 'police service'!!!!
Say it as it is in Belfast wrote (199 days ago):
Deeko, clearly your the exact other side of the coin.
ric in armagh wrote (199 days ago):
@ vinny Eire 32 your full of whataboutry!
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