Northern Ireland news

Police investigating 'sinister' masked gunman poster in Co Down warning 'no border in the sea or we continue the fight'

Sinn Féin last night called for the poster in Kilkeel to be removed. Picture from Sinn Féin
Suzanne McGonagle and John Manley

POLICE were last night investigating a "sinister" poster in Co Down showing a masked gunman with the threatening message "no border in the sea or we continue the fight".

Sinn Féin last night called for the placard in Kilkeel to be removed.

The poster, which appeared on a lamppost in the Mourne Esplanade area, near the Kilkeel leisure centre, features a masked man with a gun says: "Our forefathers fought for our freedom and rights. No border in the sea or we continue the fight".

It is the latest in a series of threatening posters and graffiti to appear across the north amid tensions around the Northern Ireland protocol.

A number of other placards have also appeared in the town calling for an end to the post-Brexit border.

A PSNI spokeswoman last night said: "Police are aware of reports of posters being erected in Kilkeel. We continue to monitor the situation."

Sinn Féin assembly member Sinéad Ennis claimed a "number of sinister and threatening posters were put up Kilkeel" on Tuesday night.

"These posters display a clear threat of violence and should be removed," she said.

The MLA urged police to investigate those responsible.

"We need to see leadership from within unionism particularly within the DUP coming out and condemning these sinister posters and the threat they contain.

"There can be no succour given to those who would make threats or use violence."

Independent Unionist Henry Reilly said he was aware that posters had been put up in Kilkeel.

While he said he was opposed to the Irish Sea border he however "couldn't support anyone inciting violence like is seen in this poster".

It came as senior Tory Jacob Rees Mogg was accused of "provocatively undermining" a key plank of the peace process by disputing the British government's assertion that it has "no selfish strategic interest" in Northern Ireland.

The 1990 declaration by then Secretary of State Peter Brooke was seen as a crucial intervention that paved the way for the peace process.

But remarks made by Mr Rees Mogg on his regular podcast 'disputing' the assertion have raised questions about his government's commitment 31 years ago.

His remarks last night sparked an angry reaction from nationalists.

South Down MP Chris Hazzard said unionists needed to begin looking to a new future "beyond the jingoistic rhetoric of the British government".

SDLP MLA Matthew O'Toole said Tory ministers expressing unionist preferences was "nothing new".

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