Another week has passed and news has reached me of another community hall in Northern Ireland being targeted and burnt. Fortunately, in this case, it seems that it has not been gutted. But a lot of damage has been done.
The hall in question is a Masonic hall in Lisburn. A fuller report can be found courtesy of the Ulster Star.
As the Ulster Star article suggests, the hall may have been mistaken for an Orange Hall—but that is no excuse. Burning each other’s halls is not going to help solve our community’s difficulties. Sitting down and talking about them does.
The Masonic Order in Ireland is another body which is organised on an all Ireland basis, just like the four main churches, as well as many other organisations including the IRFU.
The Masonic Order is open to all men who profess a belief in a supreme being: be they Jew, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or whatever.
As the article says, and as has been said to me by many friends over the last few months, Freemasonry gives a lot to charity. In England there is great support for The Scout Association, and here in Ireland for a number of hospices as well as other charities. It has been said that in the UK the top charity giver is the National Lottery, and after that is the Freemasons.
What could make people want to burn a hall that is a meeting place for those who help in this good work?