20/02/2020

Co Down Graffiti Targets UUP Cllr

An Ulster Unionist Councillor has it out after "sinister" graffiti appeared in his home constituency.

The graffiti appeared on a road sign on the Drumcaw Road between Castlewellan and Clough in Co Down on Wednesday 19 February.

It featured the name of Councillor Alan Lewis, the crosshairs of a gun and 'IRA' in red paint.

Cllr Lewis was elected onto Newry, Mourne & Down Council last year and is also a victims' campaigner working for the South East Fermanagh foundation.

He said he will not be deterred by the "sinister graffiti", which appeared just moments after he travelled along the road.

He said: "I work on behalf of everyone regardless of creed or culture and I will not be deterred from doing my job. Many people within the South Down area lived through the worst of the Troubles, some with routine threats and attempts on their lives. Those responsible for this graffiti are wannabe gangsters living in the past, romanticising over a bygone era. They don't intimidate me.

"Obviously my family is concerned and I do have two young children. I have taken advice from the police on my safety. The people behind this graffiti need to grow up and wise up.
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"This type of incident is exactly why people do not want to get involved in politics. I help constituents right across the district and I focus on bread and butter issues, but there remain some within this area who seek to cause division, raise tension and whip up hate for their own malicious ends.

"This is 2020 yet just last year two mortar devices were found in the same area. I want to see the police put anyone who is still wedded to violence out of business permanently so the rest of us can normalise politics, stamp out terrorism and wipe out hate."

Ulster Unionist Leader Steve Aiken OBE has condemned those behind the threat.

Mr Aiken said: "I am disgusted to see graffiti appearing in South Down targeting Councillor Alan Lewis. Alan was a newly elected councillor last year and those who attempted to intimidate Alan by drawing a target under his name and scrawling IRA across a road sign, should be condemned by all.

"I spoke to Alan and he will not be intimidated. Neither will any other member of the Ulster Unionist Party. Alan is a hard working local councillor and has been given a democratic mandate by the people of Slieve Croob to act on their behalf. The nameless bigots and thugs that are responsible for this are a blight on our society. I would ask that if anyone has any information that could help police arrest those responsible to pass it on to the PSNI as soon as possible."



(JG/MH)

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