An Orange hall, in County Derry, was extensively damaged overnight in what the Orange Order say was an arson attack.

The Orange Order is a Protestant fraternal organization based primarily in Northern Ireland. They have reported that the interior of the Salterstown Orange Hall was severally damaged including a lodge banner, collarettes and instruments belonging to a local band.

At around 4am on Monday morning a local resident reported the fire at the Orange Hall, near Ballyronan.

A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland condemned the latest attack on Orange property and urged any witnesses to contact the police. He also urged that there be no retaliation for the attack.

John Bryson, the lodge Deputy Master told the BBC “All through the Troubles, when they were really bad, we never had any problems.”

He pointed out that the Hall is “out of the road, down here, you'd have to come down here looking for it.

"I don't know what's to be gained by doing the likes of this to be quite honest with you."

Bryson arrived out to Hall in the early hours of the morning. “At that stage, smoke was pouring out of the room and the windows and you could hear the crackling of the burning timbers.

"So, I reckoned at that stage it was pretty major.

"I haven't been into the hall myself but from the talk by the fire brigade and police, the damage is pretty bad.

He continued "There were instruments, drums, banners, flutes, lots of things pertaining to the lodge. Who knows what shape they're in."

Fire that damaged Orange Hall in County Londonderry was arson attack, says Orange Order https://t.co/9ILEGEu1gO pic.twitter.com/qhuDb3fVyY

— BBC News NI (@BBCNewsNI) August 15, 2016
A spokesperson for the Hall told ITV News that the community is “in a complete state of shock."

"We are absolutely devastated that our property should be targeted in such a manner, and are simply crestfallen by the scene of devastation inflicted by the abhorrent individuals responsible."

They continued “The hall has been a part of community life for over 100 years, serving as a meeting place for local groups, and its unavailability for a period will be keenly felt," he added.

“Despite this major setback, the lodge and the wider Orange fraternity will rally around and ensure our hall is once again fully restored," he concluded.

Orange Order hall in Co Derry destroyed in fire () https://t.co/iDMwvwcuB8 pic.twitter.com/pyFchM4R5B

— 1001portails UK (@1001ptsUK) August 15, 2016

Protestant fraternal organization, the Orange Order, believe arson was behind fire at Salterstown Orange Hall.RogerBradley