Belfast Telegraph

Carrick man hated by Hitler 'would be aghast' at Nazi flags flying in Northern Ireland

By Amanda Ferguson

The granddaughter of an Irish diplomat from Carrickfergus who was a thorn in the side of the Third Reich said he would have been horrified to learn of Nazi flags flying in the town.

Sean Lester (1888-1959) was a grocer's son from Carrickfergus referred to as "the most hated man in Germany" by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

"That is quite an honour," Lester's granddaughter Lucy Kilroy said from Dublin.

"He went a long way for the son of grocer from Carrickfergus to the international stage.

"He was the first international person to come up against the ferocity of the Nazis."

Lester, the last secretary general of the League of Nations, is hailed as a hero akin to Oskar Schindler by many in Poland because of the way he fearlessly opposed the Nazis.

Lester watched the rise of the Nazis in Danzig (now Gdansk) and warned of the looming war. His lone voice irritated the Nazis and he incurred the wrath of Adolf Hitler as they tried to seize power across Europe.

Lucy said her grandfather would have been horrified to learn Nazi flags were flying in Carrickfergus in 2015.

"I think he would have been horrified and very, very sad," Lucy told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The good people of Carrickfergus did take the flags down very quickly and that is something to be appreciated.

"They were brave in doing that."

First Minister Peter Robinson described the flying of Nazi flags as shameful.

"Nazi flags have nothing to do with unionism," he wrote on Twitter yesterday.

"I commend the residents who removed them. Shameful that such flags were ever erected."

An independent councillor for the Carrickfergus area, James Brown, said his late father Charles, a soldier in the Second World War, would have been disgusted at the flag being displayed and described those behind it as an "absolute disgrace".

"He gave service to rid the world of Nazism," Mr Brown said. "To then find that in our community this flag is flying is an absolute disgrace to the memory of those who gave their lives and service.

"Having given, not the supreme sacrifice, but quite a bit of his life, he would be totally offended to have this emblem displayed in Carrick."

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