Who was Willie Frazer?

                                  

In Northern Ireland, nothing is ever as it seems.

Frazer was a leading member of Fair, in Markethill, the epicentre of victims’ groups.

Here is the BBC report from November 2012.

“Willie Frazer, the director of a victims’ group whose funding has been frozen, has said he is stepping down from his role.

A European funding body wants £350,000 which it gave to Fair returned.

Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair) has also had funding from the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers stopped.

Mr Frazer said on Friday that he was quitting his post because he did not want members of Fair to suffer.”

The issue disappeared. Frazer continued to be a “victims’ campaigner” sometimes acting the maggot, as some would say.

Then , magically, he attracted new funding from you and me.

Arlene Foster  became his new best friend and visited FRPU, an interesting acronym.

Then the Irish News published this.

“19 June, 2019 01:00

FUNDING for a charity linked to loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer has been withdrawn.

The Victims and Survivors Service pulled the cash from the Family Research and Policy Unit (FRPU) last month.

The service provides funding to community and voluntary organisations which deliver “support and services in a wide range of areas including health and wellbeing and advocacy support”.

Until recently the FRPU was based in Markethill in Co Armagh.”

So , apart from being careless with public money, did Willie have any other vices?

BBC Spotlight was less than convincing about their conversations with him but Pastor Barry has weighed in, more less confirming the story. Willie supplied arms to Protestant terrorists.

In 2004 Willie judicially reviewed the state regarding access to legal arms. The case is reported at 2004 NIQB 68.

The judgment contained the following correspondence:

By letter dated 12 May 2003 from the Firearms and Explosives Branch of the Northern Ireland Office the applicant was informed that the Chief Constable had revoked his Firearms Certificate as the applicant was unfit to be in possession of firearms and that:

“He based his decision on a reliable intelligence report that you associated with loyalist terrorist organisations. He considered that your association with these organisations did not arise from your work with FAIR and could not be described as legitimate.”

 

In a response dated 20 May 2003 the applicant [Willie Frazer]  disagreed that there was no specific threat to his life and referred to further evidence supporting such a threat as well as indicating that it was incumbent on the Northern Ireland Office to conduct their own enquiries into the matter. In relation to the alleged terrorist associations the applicant stated:

“Contrary to the rather hollow claims of the Chief Constable I have no links whatsoever with any paramilitary movements.” 

[My underlining]

[41] In a letter dated 2 June 2003 the Secretary of State refused the applicant’s appeal stating:

“(1) You did not need a PPW as Special Branch have advised that you are not the subject

of a specific threat.

(2)You are unfit to have firearms and ammunition as the police have intelligence from a reliable source to

indicate that you have recently associated with loyalist terrorist organisations.”

So in the looking glass world of Northern Ireland, the State, which funded Frazer handsomely, said that he was involved with terrorism, though he was never charged with any such offence.

Frazer  [whose friends would now like him to be remembered as a leader of the fight against republican violence] denied on oath that he had any such links.

Perhaps the answer is to be found in his mysterious escape from sanction when the European money went missing.

Was Willie turned? Was he made an offer by the State? Why did he promise so much and deliver so little? Was he a lightning conductor for protest? Did he involve himself in so many protests in order to report to his masters?

Given the statistics from Stevens and others, it’s odds on that Willie was a tout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Markethill, a town devoted to charity

Go to Markethill, on a Sunday, about noon , as I did today and only the ungodly will be abroad.

Outside the many churches and gospel halls from Ahorey, scene of a brutal murder twelve years ago, to downtown Markethill the rows of German cars and four by fours are testament to how good God has been to those who were on their knees praying with or on their neighbours.

But there may be  something charitable in the air in this town.

On the Mowhan Road , behind expensive wooden gates, and signposted by tasteful signs, nestles FAIR, in a large house. This is William Frazer’s flagship.

Back in the town centre FRPU is to be found, partly financed by the Victims and Survivors Service. [you and me]

When I first sighted it, two large men were standing outside. Later, when I approached on foot, they had disappeared. FRPU inhabits two unused shops with plate glass fronts. On display are drums, army uniforms, photographs relating to Loyalism, a copy of the RUC memorial photograph of those officers who died on duty. If my father’s photograph had been displayed, I would have been angry at this nonsense.   Other loyalist bric-a-brac was also to be seen.

The door to this shrine to Loyalism was open but I decided not to enter. Admiral Willie was not on board the cruiser, nor it seems, were any of his shipmates.

Around the corner was a charity devoted to Eastern European refugees.

Then there was the Newry and Armagh Caring for Victims Centre. Clearly, from their window display, a Loyalist organisation. I wonder who they are? Could it be Admiral Willie’s frigate?

Up the street are the former premises of SAVER/NAVER. This company was dissolved on 21 February 2014. It collapsed in a welter of allegations about £200,000 of funding. It, too , was a victims’ organisation.

The word ‘largesse’ comes to mind. £50 million was allocated by OFMDFM, for victims and survivors  in the period 2011-2015. I wonder how much of that actually made a difference to the 3,500 families affected by the Troubles?

Aside from Willie, Emma Pengelly/Little is a native and  was a SpAd and minister at the relevant time. I’d ask her  about the £50 million but she doesn’t speak to me after I criticised her own love of largesse. Perhaps it’s in the water as well?