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shock message Threatening graffiti targeting Leo Varadkar in Belfast condemned

The message in the Belvoir area of south Belfast has since been painted over.

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Tanaiste Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

There has been condemnation over threatening graffiti in Belfast targeting Tanaiste Leo Varadkar.

The message scrawled on a wall in the Belvoir area of south Belfast has since been painted over.

First Minster Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have both spoken out against the warning to the Tanaiste to not cross the Irish border.

It is the latest of a number of daubings in Belfast amid anger among some at the Northern Ireland Protocol, with a raft of new checks on goods arriving at ports from Great Britain introduced at the start of 2021.

A recent piece of graffiti in east Belfast called for the resignation of Mrs Foster over the Irish Sea border.

Mrs Foster tweeted: “Violence or the threat of violence has no place in democracy. I condemn those behind this.

“The NI Protocol needs replaced but violence or its threat will not achieve the change Northern Ireland needs.”

Ms O’Neill tweeted: “Shocked at the disgusting graffiti targeting Leo Varadkar which I condemn, as will the majority of people across the community.

“This is a hate crime motivated by prejudice. It’s also criminal damage and anyone with information should contact police who must investigate.”

South Belfast MP Claire Hanna said she had been contacted by residents who were “nauseated” by it.

“These were sickening words that look like they were borrowed from the Ku Klux Klan,” the SDLP representative told the PA news agency.

“It’s hate crime, incitement to violence and a dangerous escalation of careless language in recent weeks.

“We have to get serious about treating the elements behind rhetoric and actions like this as the threat to society that they are.

“This is a very challenging time politically and it needs all political leaders to be crystal clear that relighting old fires serves no-one.

“These views aren’t widespread in Belvoir or elsewhere in South Belfast. PSNI are investigating and I hope anyone with information will pass it on.”

Meanwhile, Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International tweeted: “Leo Varadkar has been a very welcome visitor to Belfast, whether to the Orange Order or Belfast Pride. That welcome will continue.”

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