The reaction of some republicans to the tragic events in Bessbrook on Monday has provoked an angry response across social media websites.
While the family of Oswald Bradley tried to come to terms with his untimely death, many unsympathetic posts were appearing on Twitter and Facebook - making light of the tragedy and attacking those who expressed their regret.
The websites of news outlets were also affected and the News Letter decided to remove the comment facility attached to the online report of Mr Bradley’s death due to a number of disturbing posts.
Yesterday Sinn Fein MLA Mickey Brady, whose party last week called for the Bessbrook tricolours to be removed, extended his condolences to the family.
But some other republicans showed less humanity. For reasons of taste, we are not publishing what was said.
Newry and Armagh UUP MLA Danny Kennedy said those involved in posting the offensive messages were “beneath contempt”.
He said: “Some of the comments have been disgraceful and simply unacceptable. Frankly they are beneath contempt.
“I am aware of some of them and they reflect more on the people who have made them than it does on Oswald Bradley, or the Bradley family, because they are much-loved and greatly respected in Bessbrook.
“There are a lot of warped people about and some of the stuff has been disgraceful.”
Victims’ campaigner Ann Travers was obviously upset at the hurtful comments, describing them as “disgusting and shameful”.
Also reacting to the wave of sectarian messages, the TUV’s Sammy Morrison condemned the “vile sectarianism on display from republicans following the death of a pensioner in the act of removing IRA flags”.
“Let’s see what is done about this filth. I plan to bring these individuals to the attention of the PSNI for their comments.”
The assistant to Jim Allister added: “I sadly never met the man who died but it’s obvious that he felt passionately about his country and the erosion of his identity.”