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Condemnation of Newry anti-internment bonfire with sign mocking Willie Frazer's murdered father

The Newry bonfire that mocks the murdered father of loyalist Willie Frazer.

There has been condemnation of an anti internment bonfire in Newry that mocks the murdered father of loyalist Willie Frazer.

The bonfire in the Parkhead area of Newry also contains toxic tyres and a number of other sectarian signs.

Mr Frazer posted online that when he attempted to take a picture of the bonfire his car was attacked by young people at the site.

Bertie Frazer, a member of the UDR, was shot and killed by the IRA on a farm at Ballymoyer near Whitecross in Co Armagh in August 1975.

Last year police were asked to investigate a similar sign referencing Mr Frazer's father on an anti-internment bonfire at Carnagat Road in Newry.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said it was "disgusting and should be condemned."

Church of Ireland Bishop of Down and Dromore Harold Miller said he was deeply saddened and added: "It was personalised, shocking and inhumane."

"I know it does not represent the ordinary people of Newry, whom I have experienced as warm, kind, and keen to move in a direction of reconciliation and peace," he added.

"It is important to say that such dehumanising and demeaning messages conveying hate and causing hurt are not acceptable from any part of our society, and I want to add my voice to those who utterly condemn them."

Newry and Mourne Ulster Unionist councillor David Taylor said "A multitude of hate crimes have been committed at this bonfire which include references made to Willie Frazer and his late father who was murdered by the IRA.

"This is the sinister face of republicans".

Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady also condemned the signage which he described as a hate crime.

"Such actions are hate crimes and have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with republicanism or the legacy of internment.

"It is anti-republican, and does not celebrate any aspect of Irish national identity or cultural traditions."

In July contractors removed bonfire material from two sites in east Belfast after fears were raised that they were too close to nearby property.

Outside contractors, protected by riot police, removed wood and tyres from fires at the Bloomfield Walkway and Cluan Place.

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