MLA slams Frazer hospital photo

Willie Frazer
Willie Frazer

UUP MLA Doug Beattie has lodged a formal complaint after photos of Willie Frazer lying ill in hospital were posted on social media.

The prominent victims’ campaigner has been critically ill in Craigavon Area Hospital.

Mr Beattie rebuked the person who posted derogatory remarks about Mr Frazer with a photo of him lying in a hospital bed. He also contacted the Southern Trust.

“They have promised to investigate,” he told the News Letter. “I thought it was incredibly crass regardless of what you think of Willie.

“It would certainly be hurtful for him and his family.

“The second thing is that for someone to take a photo of him in hospital is just unacceptable.

“Everyone has a right to a private life,” he added. “This is a serious breach of a patient’s privacy and possibly data protection.

“I contacted the chief executive of the Southern Trust on Saturday who told me it was scandalous and that it will be investigated.”

The exchange between Mr Beattie and the poster ‘Sam’ took place on Twitter on Saturday.

Mr Beattie tweeted to Sam: “I have reported this to the Southern Health Trust and PSNI – do the right thing and remove it now.

Sam replied: “OK just for you Doug I’ll get right on it...”.

Although some critics of Mr Frazer have posted caustic comments since news of his illness broke, an increasing number of his critics have been making a distinction between their dislike for his politics, while expressing sympathy for him personally and his family.

As one put it in response to Sam posting the photograph: “I wouldn’t be his biggest fan, but ... there is no need for putting this up.”

Sam retorted: “It’s all over the internet long before I posted it”.

But Mr Beattie did not let Sam off with that excuse.

“Sam I know we don’t agree on virtually anything,” he said. “But surely you can see how hurtful this is to his family. You may not have been the originator but you could show compassion and remove it.”

Sam hit back by claiming Mr Frazer’s track record as a victims’ campaigner had been very hurtful to other victims.

He asked: “As hurtful as the hatred thats spilled from his mouth for years – he’s caused a fair share of hurt to families who have lost loved ones?”

But Mr Beattie urged him to “rise above it if that’s how you feel”.

Sam then relented. “Fair enough I’ll take it off before I get in any trouble seeing its been reported to the police.”

Six members of the Frazer family were murdered by the IRA, which informed Mr Frazer’s focus as a victims’ campaigner over decades.

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