Belfast Telegraph

Willie Frazer hails support of nationalists over placard

By Stewart Robson

Willie Frazer has praised members of the nationalist community who have approached him on the street offering their support and apologies after a sectarian display on a republican bonfire mocked his late father.

A placard was placed on an internment bonfire in Newry last week stating: "Willie Frazer have you found your daddy yet?"

The incident was widely condemned.

The Protestant victims campaigner, from Markethill in Co Armagh, said the support was welcome.

"I've received quite a few well-wishes from nationalist people in and around Newry," he said.

"I was even stopped two or three times on the street and apologised to from people who said they were Catholics and that these people weren't working on their behalf and that were only scum. That was their words, not mine."

Mr Frazer's father Bertie was a part-time UDR officer murdered by the IRA in 1975.

Two of Mr Frazer's uncles and two cousins were also killed, with one of his uncles dying just 10 days after his father.

"They said it was a disgrace and understood why I campaign for what I believe to be right and it gives nobody the right to attack me for it," he added.

"They are entitled to justice as well, and they apologised. One man came over to me in Newry and said he was a Catholic and was ashamed.

"I told him there was no need for him to be ashamed and he assured me that it wasn't done in his or his family's name.

"I told him that he wasn't the first person from his community to tell me that."

Mr Frazer said people approaching him on the street in the predominantly nationalist city to offer sympathy was an indication of society "moving on".

"I've had people shout at me too, but the fact people would stop me on the street in Newry, which is not easy for them to do because if the wrong person seen them, it could lead to getting a bit of abuse themselves.

"This shows you that maybe society is moving on a bit. People from both sides of the community are condemning sectarian activity.

"Let's face it, 15 years ago I wouldn't have got the same support from nationalists, and probably the other way round, so this has to be welcomed. These boys have actually shot themselves in the foot."

Belfast Telegraph

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