Cross-community facility targeted in sectarian attack

Republican graffiti was painted on the Barron Hall sometime overnight on July 2/3.
Republican graffiti was painted on the Barron Hall sometime overnight on July 2/3.

Sectarian vandals have targeted a cross-community facility in the centre of Glengormley.

The Barron Hall was attacked sometime overnight on Thursday, July 2 into Friday, July 3.

Two paint bombs caused minor damage and republican graffiti was painted on the historic building.

It’s the latest in a series of attacks on the former school and courthouse on the Antrim Road, which was extensively redeveloped just over two years ago at a cost of £200,000 after being gutted in an arson attack in July 2010.

Speaking to the Times on Friday morning, Kathy Wolff of the Community Relations Forum, which runs the busy facility, said: “It’s very disappointing. This hall is used by people from all different backgrounds. Just last night we had Corrymeela here, so it is disappointing to come in this morning and find that the place has been targeted like this.”

Local UUP councillor, Alderman Mark Cosgrove condemned those responsible for the attack.

“The Community Relations Forum has been the bedrock of cross-community outreach in Glengormley for many years. Such wanton vandalism will never deter this important work.

“I am sure that the community activists on all sides who use this facility every day will be disgusted by these unrepresentative actions,” he commented.

SDLP Councillor Noreen McClelland and North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness both condemned the latest attack on the busy community hub.

“This hall is a vital community facility that is used by everyone in our community and this attack is an attack on our entire community,” Cllr McClelland said. “I visited the hall to show my solidarity with the staff and to show them that the work they carry out is valued.”

Mr Maginness added: “Those behind this attack do not represent the decent people of Glengormley. I would ask anyone with information about this attack to immediately contact the PSNI.”

Police are investigating the incident and have appealed for witnesses to come forward.