Controversial victims campaigner Willie Frazer says the discovery of an illegal abattoir at a fuel laundering plant in Newry vindicates his belief that the IRA was involved in the “horse burger” scandal.
UUP MLA Robin Swann uncovered information about the abattoir with a recent question to Justice Minister David Ford. He had asked for the number of illegal abattoirs that had been found with fuel laundering plants.
Justice Minister David Ford responded: “One such plant was uncovered in Newry in October 2012. Two trailers were recovered which appeared to be mobile laundering plants at the site of an unregistered meat plant. There have been no prosecutions arising from the recovery of the trailers. Investigations by council Environmental Health Officers are ongoing.”
Mr Swann told the News Letter yesterday: “If an illegal abattoir is found at the site of a fuel laundering plant in Newry – to me, it is either republicans or dissident republicans involved.”
USPCA spokesman David Wilson said: “There were loads and loads of unwanted horses. We knew that horses were being slaughtered at illegal abattoirs down south in the midlands, but we did not know about this one in Newry.”
He said there “certainly were” organised crime gangs involved.
“They are pretty adept at abusing the law and are also involved in fuel, cigarettes and alcohol smuggling,” he added.
In January, Republican News, describing Mr Frazer as “the Armagh myth peddler”, said he had “run away with himself with another wild claim about Irish republican horseplay – the IRA is responsible for putting horsemeat in burgers!”
But yesterday Mr Frazer claimed the Newry discovery vindicated his claim about IRA involvement in the horse meat scandal.
“People laughed when I said the IRA was involved,” he said.
“But it is only in certain areas where you could carry out that level of activity and get away with it.
“I would call for a more in-depth investigation. Nobody has yet been held to account.”
No stranger to controversy, Mr Frazer hit the headlines recently for announcing that he intends to turn up in court soon dressed as Muslim extremist Abu Hamza.
The 53-year-old faces a number of charges, including encouraging or assisting offences when he made a speech to flag protestors at the City Hall earlier this year.
“I am the first man to be charged with this law brought in to deal with Muslim extremists, it’s a farce,” he said.
* A spokeswoman for Newry and Mourne District Council said: “Subsequent to a raid by PSNI and HMRC in relation to Fuel Laundering the Council was advised that meat was being handled at a premises within the District. We attended and observed that meat cutting operations were being carried out in a purpose built unit. It was not an abbatoir and there was no evidence of illegal slaughter. The premises were not registered with the Council as a food business and no approval for such operations had been sought. The premises were closed by the Council and all meat present was detained and subsequently destroyed. “