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Police asked to probe ‘hate crime’ as ‘despicable and sickening’ slogans placed on Newry bonfire

Slogans reference the late William Frazer, the killing of Prison Officer David Black, PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll and 18 soldiers at Narrow Water

Parkhead bonfire

Police are being asked to investigate those behind the placing of flags and slogans on a bonfire in Newry.

Ulster Unionist Councillor David Taylor has called on the PSNI to conduct an investigation, branding it a “hate crime”.

The bonfire, he said, is at Parkhead.

It comes after recent days of tension across Northern Ireland in the run-up to bonfires and activities to mark the anniversary of internment.

Councillor Taylor described the bonfire at Newry as “absolutely despicable and sickening”.

In addition to the flags placed on the bonfire, a number of placards have also been put on for burning.

One makes a reference to the late Markethill victims’ campaigner, Willie Frazer, which says: “Join your Da in hell Willie.”

Another refers to the killing 0f 18 soldiers in a bomb attack at Narrow Water in August 1979.

It states: “18 Brits were blown to bits haha.”

Other slogans refer to Prison Officer David Black, gunned down on his way to work in November 2012, and to PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll, from Craigavon, shot dead by the Continuity IRA in March 2009, the first serving member of the PSNI to be killed since the force came into being.

Councillor Taylor has called on all political representatives to speak out in condemning the bonfire and materials being burned.

And he added: “I will be asking the PSNI to investigate this matter as a hate crime.”

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has also slammed those behind the bonfire, which he said was “bedecked with obscene messages”.
He said: ““The images that I have seen tonight are despicable and to see the names of innocent individuals who were murdered by republican terrorists or had family members murdered by republican terrorists, written on boards in such a hateful way and attached to a bonfire is obscene in the extreme.
““This matter needs investigated by the PSNI immediately given the very poisonous messages that are contained on the bonfire. This is a despicable and pathetic situation and shows just how depraved some people can be in this society.”

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