Glenavy residents stand up against sectarianism

GLENAVY residents are standing shoulder to shoulder against the attack on Glenavy Protestant Hall a few weeks ago.

Sickened by the fourth attack on the hall, residents have formed a united front condemning the latest attack on October 22, calling for no retaliation.

Alderman James Tinsley said they were a planning to do a leaflet drop to 900 residents of the village in the hope of getting information and catching the perpetrators who carried the it out.

“We have good relations within the village,” said Mr Tinsley. “After the last attack we had many people coming into the hall annoyed by what had happened.

“We felt that we would drum up support from both sides of the community and we are hoping that it will lead to the people behind the attacks. We hope that the whole community can come together and stand united.”

Councillor Pat Catney said that he has been truly disgusted by the attacks and has visited the hall every time it has been attacked offering to help clean up the mess.

“We all need to stand together against this,” he said. “This will show those people carrying out these attacks that they are not going to win. We need to show a united front and need to respect each other regardless of colour or creed.

“We do not need this and we need to distance ourselves from these attacks and show that this is not needed or welcomed.”

In the letter, supported by a variety of bodies including Rev John Rutter of St Aidan’s Parish Church, Rev Robert Loney, Fr Sean Dillon, St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Glenavy Development Partnership, Glenavy Youth Project, Lyndgrove Hill Residents Group, Crewe United Football Club, Glenavy Angling Association, Councillor Catney and Alderman Tinsley, it stated, the attack was ‘not the wishes of the vast majority of the Glenavy residents’.

“We will not allow the irresponsible and criminal actions of a small minority of people to derail the majority from the good community relations we have worked so hard to achieve in Glenavy,” the letter stated.

“We are therefore appealing to the entire Glenavy community that anyone with any information on this attack to please report it to the police ASAP. We would also stress that there be no retaliation to this crime and that this attack would be completely counter-productive. Keeping calm and living alongside our neighbours amicably will bring greater rewards for us all.

“The attempted destruction of a hall which provides so much community focus is a terrible shame and a criminal act. However, the community spirit and good community relations fostered in Glenavy will undoubtedly pervade as all sections of the community will continue to work towards fostering and building a safe, inclusive and thriving village for all people to live and work in.”