IRA HQ claim over school's Italian flag

Published Thursday, 17 May 2012
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A victims' campaigner has labelled a Co Tyrone primary school an IRA training ground, after mistaking an Italian flag outside the building for an Irish tricolour.

IRA HQ claim over school's Italian flag
The Italian flag flying outside St Patrick's PS in Donaghmore. (© William Frazer)

Willie Frazer hit out at St Patrick's Primary in Donaghmore, posting a picture of the school flying the flags of Poland, Turkey and Italy on Facebook.

Seeming to mistake the red in the Italian flag for orange and thinking it was an Irish flag, he commented: "This is a school in Tyrone flying the Irish flag on the school grounds why".

The 51-year-old founder of Families Acting for Innocent Relatives also claimed the school was "the junior headquarters of SF/IRA youth, or it may as well be".

I wounder do they also train the children in how to use weapons, for it seems they can do what they wont. [sic]

Willie Frazer

The school was flying the flags as part of a European project, during which 11 teachers from the countries represented visited the school.

St Patrick's principal Dera Calahane expressed shock at "how vindictive and inciteful the comments were".

She said: "The comments made are inaccurate. The three flags on display were the Italian, Polish and Turkish national flags.

"These were flying as part of the welcome to our Comenius Partner Schools who were visiting at the time.

"It appears some individual has mistaken the Italian flag for the Irish flag. The school is currently taking legal advice and is bringing the matter to the PSNI."

Mrs Calahane added that, although the visiting teachers were not aware of the incident, she fears they could find out.

"I would hate to think that the school's relationship would be damaged," she added.

The flags have since been taken down by the school and the pictures have been removed from Facebook.

Mr Frazer further commented on the situation on the social networking site, posting a message which said: "The flag seen flying at this school is not the irish tricolour, and it may look very like it but i can asure people it is not. [sic]"

A PSNI spokesperson said police have spoken to those involved "in an attempt to resolve what appears to have been a misunderstanding regarding the flying of flags at the school".

© UTV News
Comments Comments
136 Comments
Patrick in Tullamore,Offaly wrote (513 days ago):
I was in a protest in Dublin and they had green,white and red flags what is this?
claire byrne in dublin wrote (610 days ago):
During the world cup years ago I worked in inshops in high st belfast a sandwich bar put up a load of flags to decorate their unit for the world cup anyway samething ,,, A dozen times a day i watched the owner of the sandwich bar argue in vain with people who didnt care if it was the italian flag its was the fact it looked like a irish tricolour and complained to the manager.
Paeder in Derry wrote (630 days ago):
Willie fraz-er, is the cl-wn of ulster unionism. Many within unionism i am certain are totally embarassed by this guy, in fact so much so, he was told to leave belfast by para loyalists during the recent flag unrest. In my opinion he has lost any credability, in his so-called fight for the protestant victims of ira wrongful violence, and maybe doing more damage than good concerning this issue. His rantings are getting worse each time he opens his mouth. To label a primary school as an ira training ground is beyond the pale. Even if it had been an Irish tri-colour flying outside this school, his comments would have still be totally wrong. It shows were this guy is at, and it is not I beleive were he presumes it is at.. Total unbeleivable dinosaur unionism is coming from this guy...
Jay in Scotland wrote (664 days ago):
It's stories like this, portraying insular small-mindedness, which seems endemic across Northern Ireland, that make me glad that I left the country of my birth many years ago. It also makes me very confident I will never return due to where there is bubbling tribalism (because it's not religion) just beneath the surface. In addition, it makes me extremely embarrassed when people in Scotland of varying nationalities ask me what the problems are, and are quite astonished by the explanation of the menial inconsequential issues that seem to dominate peoples lives in the north of Ireland. They should all be issued with a passport and asked to see the world outside NI. Yes, there is one. It's where the grown-ups live. P.S. If comments are going to be used in the national press, then at least correct spelling will give some semblance of an education. I wounder... [sic]
Colm in Cork wrote (871 days ago):
Willie Frazer needs to get a life. Period. Also funny are Lorna from Limavady's comments who says she "doesn't blame Willie Fraser for thinking of the tricolour as a terrorist flag". Plenty of Loyalists buried with the Union Jack on their coffins. Does this make it a terrorist flag too, Lorna from Limavady?!! Jesus Christ, with people of this mentality still around, Northern Ireland will never be at peace!
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