Vandals who caused extensive damage to an Orange hall on the outskirts of Derry are trying to stoke up tension in the community.
This is the view of DUP MP Gregory Campbell who spoke out following the attack on the building at Fawney Road, Drumahoe, over the weekend.
The hall is used by the membership of Fawney Fort Loyal Orange Lodge and a local Royal Black Preceptory.
Police say the incident took place some time on Friday night when entry was gained to the premises via the roof and a number of banners and a painting stolen.
Graffiti was also scratched onto two brass plaques in the foyer and cupboards in the hall were ransacked, with the contents thrown around the floor.
The attack is thought to have caused up to £10,000 worth of damage.
Gregory Campbell, MP for East Derry, said sectarian attacks failed in the past and would do so in the future.
“While most people are trying to build better relationships for the future, there seems to be a small minority who try to revert to actions that were carried out in the past,” he said.
“This hall is situated in a quiet rural area outside Drumahoe on the boundary between the Foyle and East Londonderry constituencies and it joins the list of hundreds of other halls that have been subjected to this and much worse in attacks designed to increase tension.
“Hopefully, the entire community can unite and expose these people for their attempts to take us back.”
Deputy Grand Master of the city’s Orange Lodge, local DUP Alderman Maurice Devenney, said the attack was a “pre-planned and despicable hate crime on the Protestant community.”
He added: “Those who carried out this wicked deed also took it upon themselves to steal a number of items, including a portrait of King William and two banners, which are of great historic, cultural and financial value to the lodges concerned.”
Waterside-based Sinn Fein Councillor Paul Fleming also criticised those responsible saying there could be “no justification” for the attack.
He added: “This attack is wrong, and those behind this attack or, indeed, any other attacks on Orange halls need to think about their actions and the effect that they have on community relations. The simple fact is that whoever is behind such attacks can only be described as sectarian.
“There have been attacks on Orange halls and GAA clubs across the North. Both are equally wrong.”