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Death threat issued against SF councillor attempt by loyalist gangs to 'stoke up sectarian tensions', MLA says

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A death threat has been issued against Sinn Fein Antrim councillor Ian Friary, the party has said.

North Antrim MLA Phillip McGuigan said "reckless and sectarian" graffiti had also appeared targeting the Bannside councillor in the east Antrim village of Ahoghill.

The graffiti features Mr Friary's name and Sinn Fein with the cross hairs of a gun beside them, along with the message 'no Irish Sea border' and the sectarian slogan 'KAT'.

Police have confirmed they are investigating an incident of criminal damage regarding the graffiti.

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They discovered the graffiti on the wall of a building in the Brook Street area on Sunday morning

"The incident is being treated a sectarian hate crime and enquiries are ongoing," a PSNI spokesperson said.

Mr McGuigan said police had contacted Mr Friary, who serves on Mid and East Antrim Borouh Council, on Sunday "to warn him of a threat against his life".

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“The threat comes after reckless, despicable and sectarian graffiti appeared in Ahoghill Village targeting Councillor Friary over the weekend," the Sinn Fein MLA said.

“Threats against public representatives are reprehensible and must not be tolerated."

Mr McGuigan said the threats and graffiti were "clearly an attempt by loyalist gangs to stoke up sectarian tensions in the area and instil fear into the local community".

"We need to hear those in positions of leadership within unionism, particularly the DUP, coming out and making it clear that these threats and this graffiti is wrong," he said.

“Anyone with information on this graffiti should contact the PSNI.”

DUP North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey condemned the threat.

"There can be no place for threats or intimidation in our society. Any such incident is wrong and must be condemned," the Policing Board member said.

Alliance councillor Patricia O'Lynn also offered support to council colleague Mr Friary saying the graffiti was a "total disgrace".

"No place for this nonsense in society," she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101, and quote reference number 623 of 28/02/21. A report can be made on the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/

The DUP have been contacted in relation to this story.

Belfast Telegraph


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