Belfast Telegraph

Willie Frazer's family and friends 'stand by him 100%' following loyalist weapons claims

Willie Frazer
Willie Frazer
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A close friend of Willie Frazer has said the family and friends of the victims’ campaigner “stand by him one hundred per cent” after claims that the victims' campaigner distributed Ulster Resistance assault rifles and rocket launchers to loyalist paramilitaries.

South Armagh Pastor Barrie Halliday made the comments in a video posted to social media ahead of a new BBC documentary to be aired tonight which claims the weapons were used in more than 70 murders.

Mr Frazer, who died earlier this year, is identified in the programme as a key figure in the shadowy loyalist movement, which was initially backed by the DUP before Ian Paisley’s tried to distance the party from the terror group after it smuggled guns into Northern Ireland from South Africa in the 1980s.

Speaking earlier, Mr Halliday said he was contacted by BBC journalist Mandy McAuley yesterday about the report they were intending to broadcast tonight.

“She then rang back again later on Monday to ask me to make sure that I had told Willie’s family that some of the contents of tonight’s programme might shock them, surprise them and so forth,” he said.

“The programme is made and going out so there’s nothing we can do about it. The newspapers have had the privilege of seeing clips of what’s going out — we haven’t seen that.

Statement regarding tonight’s BBC spotlight programme.

Posted by William Frazer on Tuesday, October 8, 2019

“All I can say as Willie’s pastor is that I was there at his dying breath and in the couple of months when he was very sick before that. Catholics do confessions ... but this is not a confession.

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“If it is true and Willie did say these things, it is not a confession of sins in the past. It is simply putting the record straight.

“I am going to hold my judgment for now and keep my counsel to see what goes out tonight.”

Pointing to the Ulster and Union flags, Mr Halliday added: “As an Ulster Scots man, of course when he was attacked and fired upon, he would defend what was his and if someone was pointing a gun, why wouldn’t we point a gun back.

The Frazer family's Pastor Barrie Halliday
The Frazer family's Pastor Barrie Halliday

“I’m not going to disassociate myself and I’m not worried about the lesser breeds who line up today in the papers that are read by the lesser breeds that have learned to read in recent years.

“I am concerned for Willie’s friends. We knew Willie, we understood Willie and we will stand by him one hundred per cent.”

The allegations about Frazer are made in the fifth episode of the BBC NI series, Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History.

It focuses on the murderous activities of loyalist terrorists and exposes the scale of collusion between them and the security forces.

Spotlight claims “multiple sources” confirmed that Mr Frazer was Ulster Resistance’s key distributor of automatic rifles and rocket launchers imported from South Africa and which were used to kill at least 70 people.

The programme says Mr Frazer became involved with “radical loyalists” after his father and four other relatives were murdered by the IRA.

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