Republican Sinn Féin has said its activists have removed loyalist posters which it said had been used “to stoke up sectarian fear”.
The party hit out after the sinister messages appeared in County Armagh. The posters include a picture of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and warn that “the possibility of a return to violence is very real” and appear against the background of an image of the Dublin and Monaghan bombs. The UVF attacks in 1974 resulted in the deaths of 33 people.
It is unclear who erected the posters, which coincided with the return of Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar to the Taoiseach’s office. It is thought they refer to the alarm raised by Varadkar and others in the aftermath of Brexit over a possible remilitarisation of the border area through Ireland. Some loyalists chose to interpret such warnings as threats.
The anti-Protocol poster carries the words, “Peace or Protocol…It’s your decision”.
A spokesman for RSF its members took the posters down saying they would not allow “these faceless people to strike sectarian fear into nationalist communities.”
RSF said the “sectarian and threatening” posters had appeared across Armagh and Lurgan, but had now been removed.
“The appearance of these posters and the apparent reference to Dublin/Monaghan have all the hallmarks of some arm of the occupying state,” they said.
They cited local residents who praised the improvement in community relations in the rural area “and nobody wants to return of sectarian displays of hate or to be living in fear of sectarian attacks on our homes”.
The local party cumann in north Armagh, the Tomas Ó hAirt Cumman, added: “As a community, we will look out for and protect our neighbours and not allow these faceless people to strike sectarian fear into nationalist communities.”