Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

School demands direct apology for Frazer’s flag slur

Willie Frazer, Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR)
Willie Frazer, Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR)

The principal of a school described by victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer as “the junior headquarters of IRA youth” has called on him to apologise to her directly.

Dera Cahalane of St Patrick’s Primary in Donaghmore has contacted the PSNI after the high-profile Protestant victims’ campaigner posted controversial remarks about her school after confusing an Italian flag flying outside it for an Irish tricolour.

Mr Frazer (51), who represents the group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR), apologised in the media for his offensive online posting after he mistook the red third of an Italian flag flying at the school for the orange third of the Republic’s standard.

The Italian flag was flying alongside Turkish and Polish flags in honour of 11 teachers from schools in Poland, Italy and Turkey who visited the Co Tyrone school this month for a European integration project.

The Co Tyrone school normally only flies an Eco-Schools Green Flag awarded for delivery of environmental education.

After seeing photographs of the three flags, Mr Frazer, whose father was killed by the IRA, posted on Facebook: “The junior headquarters of SF/IRA youth, or it may as well be.”

He also wrote: “I wonder do they also train the children in how to use weapons?”

He said on Thursday the remark referred to photographs that emerged last year of children in south Armagh carrying replica AK-47s, and he had since put on his Facebook page a statement that the flag is not the Irish tricolour.

Ms Cahalane said she was “shocked” when she learned of Mr Frazer’s “inciteful” remarks and called on him to apologise directly to the school.

She told the Belfast Telegraph: “I was shocked at just how inciteful the comments were. I contacted the PSNI because of the safety of my children here.”

She added: “To date, the school has received no personal apology from Mr Frazer.”

Mr Frazer told the Belfast Telegraph he apologised for a “genuine mistake”.

However, he added: “If they think I’m going to get down on my hands and knees, basically the answer is no.”

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