Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly and Chairman of the Stormont Committee for Employment and Learning, has condemned Sunday’s attack on Rasharkin Orange Hall as “nothing short of naked republican racism”.
Assemblyman Swann, who is also UUP Chief Whip, added: “I appeal strongly to the Protestant Unionist Loyalist community not to be sucked into any tit-for-tat republican agenda.
“Equally importantly, I urge anyone with information on what the PSNI have already described as a hate crime to pass whatever details they can to the police so that the people responsible can be arrested and brought before the courts.”
Mr Swann’s appeal came as police confirmed on Sunday that graffiti was painted on the walls of the Orange Hall in Main Street, Rasharkin, at some point overnight.
Supt John Magill said the incident was being treated as a hate crime. “I would ask anyone who noticed any unusual activity in the area or who has any information to contact police,” he said.
Assemblyman Swann added: “It is significant that this attack should come as the community is about to prepare for the annual Twelfth commemorations.
“I urge everyone in the community to remain calm in the face of this naked republican racism. The fact that there are people or organisations still in our community who are prepared to indulge in a hate crime such as this attack on Rasharkin Orange Hall should be proof that those charged with putting together the Northern Ireland budget must ensure appropriate funding is given to the police to enable them to carry out their duties,” said Assemblyman Swann, himself a Past Master in the Orange Order.