Sectarianism is wrong and stupid

Padraig MacLochlainn.
Padraig MacLochlainn.

At the time of writing we don’t know who burned Newtowncunningham Orange Hall, just across the border which, incidentally, didn’t exist when the hall was first built. It’ll take around €30,000 to rebuild. It was also damaged two years ago.

I’m only speculating but it would be difficult to come up with a motive for the arson other than sectarian hatred. Of course, we’ve had numerous attacks in recent years on this side of the border including attacks on Catholic and Protestant churches, on Orange Halls and on GAA property. All such attacks are reprehensible and stupid.

I wonder if those who set fire to the hall in Newtowncunningham have any idea how deeply anti-republican their actions were? Probably not.

Well, they were as anti-republican as it’s possible to be. Fortunately we can say with confidence that the ignorant know-nothings who do this type of thing are a tiny and unrepresentative minority everywhere.

The traditional republican view has always been that sectarianism is an evil manifestation of British rule in Ireland. When European powers ruled around the world and the British in more countries than most, the strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ was common. When Imperial powers didn’t encourage sectarianism, they usually tolerated it.

Sectarianism can’t have any place in a decent republic.

A republic that can’t tolerate difference in religion and in politics isn’t worth having.

You don’t have to like or respect the Orange Order to know that it’s wrong not to tolerate it.

Sinn Féin TD Padraig MacLochlainn visited the scene of the latest attack, condemned it and expressed solidarity with the minority Protestant community in Donegal. Like all thinking republicans, Mr MacLochlainn knows how wrong and stupid sectarianism is.