Condemnation at internment bonfire bearing offensive slogans

August 13, 2018

Politicians have been united in their condemnation of those responsible for an anti-internment  bonfire in Newry which featured a sign mocking prominent loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer and the IRA killing of his late father, UDR member Bertie Frazer.

The sign placed on the bonfire at Parkhead in the city, along with a union jack flag and other offensive slogans, referred to the August 1975 murder of Bertie Frazer and directed at this son Willie asked had he “found his daddy yet?”

Mr. Frazer, who claims he was stoned and bottled when he visited the bonfire on Wednesday night to take a photograph, has called it mindless sectarian bigotry.

“This shows the mentality of these mindless uneducated entrenched individuals. These people are unwilling to move forward their only aim is to provoke and spread their hate filled agenda,” he said.

Political representatives across the main parties have slammed the organisers of the bonfire. Sinn Fein’s Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady said his party condemned the burning of flags, emblems, effigies and posters on bonfires.

“This so called anti-internment bonfire has nothing whatsoever to do with the legacy of internment. It is anti-republican, and does not celebrate any aspect of Irish national identity or cultural traditions. Those responsible are under no circumstances acting in the name of republicanism.  Such actions are hate crimes and must be eradicated,” Mr Brady said.

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty said those responsible for the offensive sign should be “ashamed”.

“In 2018 there can be no tolerance for such hate in our society,” he said.  “The SDLP’s message is clear, these actions do not reflect the true meaning of what it means to be an Irish Republican, and I hope they are widely condemned.”

Ulster Unionist Councillor David Taylor said the organisers of the bonfire had committed “a multitude of hate crimes” and “should be roundly condemned for their sickening actions.”

“The Frazer family have suffered greatly at the evil hands of Republicanism terrorism and it is completely unacceptable that they should have to tolerate this despicable behaviour.”

In a statement, the PSNI said: “We recognise the hurt and frustration that this has caused to many in the community.  Should evidence come to light that a crime has been committed and suspects identified, they will be brought before the courts.”