09/08/2019

Widespread Disgust At Newry Bonfire

An anti-internment bonfire in Newry has been met with widespread condemnation as signs mocking security force personnel who were killed by paramilitaries were displayed on the pyre.

Murdered prison officer David Black, who was shot dead as he drove on the M1 in 2012, was referenced on the bonfire along with late victims' campaigner Willie Frazer and 18 soldiers killed at the Narrow Water massacre in 1979.

Police are understood to be treating the provocative signs placed on the bonfire in the Carnagat area of the town as a "hate incident".

Sinn Fein MP Mickey Brady called for the eradication of "such actions and hate crimes".

The Newry and Armagh MP said: "Sinn Fein condemn the burning of flags, emblems, effigies and posters on bonfires.
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"The vast majority of the community is opposed to bonfire and associated display of hate and anti social behaviour. This bonfire has nothing whatsoever to do with the legacy of internment. It does not celebrate any aspect of Irish national identity or culture. 

"This Bonfire is not Republican, it is not about politics or culture. It is about hate and is anti-community and anti-social.

"It also has brought further pain and suffering to bereaved families."

David Black's son, who became a DUP councillor earlier this year, expressed his disgust at seeing his dad's name on the pyre.

Kyle Black tweeted: "I will never understand the mentality of those who seek to cause further hurt by placing the names of our loved ones on a bonfire."

Meanwhile, DUP Leader Arlene Foster condemned those behind the act and expressed solidarity with the loved ones of those mentioned.

She wrote on Thursday evening: "This is really sick. My heart goes out to the families who are impacted by this tower of hate.

"Those who built it evidently have a lot of bitterness and hatred in their hearts. It stands in contrast to the dignity and grace of the innocent victims who today sit with empty chairs."



(JG/CM)


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