Vandals who daubed paint on an Orange Order plaque have been accused of attempting to ‘whip up tensions’ ahead of the Twelfth celebrations.
White paint was splashed on the plaque commemorating the place where King William made his journey across the River Bann, which was unveiled during a reenactment of King William’s crossing of the river at Dunbar’s Bridge two years’ ago by Orangemen.
The Orange Order say graffiti in support of republicanism was also daubed next to the plaque.
It is believed the incident occurred during the early hours of Friday morning (June 28), a day before the mini-Twelfth was held in the town.
UUP Councillor Glenn Barr has appealed for calm following the incident.
“I would appeal to people not to react but to rather focus on the upcoming festivities such at the Twelfth, and enjoy themselves, rather than thinking about what others have done.”
The paint has since been removed after members of the Orange Order staged a clean up operation.
An Orange Order spokesman for Banbridge District branded the vandalism as ‘sectarian’.
He explained, “While the district hall has suffered similar paint attacks in years gone by, this is unfortunately the first sign of republican attacks on our culture in Banbridge in recent times.
“The mindset of those involved must be questioned, particularly given the historical significance of the plaque, which is looked upon with great pride by the overwhelming majority of the local community.”
A Progressive Unionist Party spokesperson said, “Here we have another example of what are becoming regular sectarian attacks on memorials across Northern Ireland.”
A police spokesperson confirmed to the Leader that the PSNI was appealing to anyone with information to come forward. They can be contacted on 0845 600 8000.
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