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New TUV councillor in trouble over anti-Catholic remarks

TUV councillor Jolene Bunting apologised, explaining her teenage self meant ‘Republicans’ and not Catholics when she wrote the posts in 2011.

NEWLY-ELECTED BELFAST councillor Jolene Bunting has had quite the baptism of fire into politics.

Just hours after getting elected, the TUV member had to answer questions about Facebook comments she posted three years ago, when she was 18 years old.

In the posts, the Belfast woman made sectarian and derogatory comments about Catholics living in Northern Ireland.

Screengrabbed and published by social media group Loyalists Against Democracy (LAD), Bunting’s comments have garnered attention on both Twitter and Facebook.

In a post dated 18 March 2011, she reportedly said:

I’m so sick of the poor Catholic b******* they make me sick. I wish they would just go down to Ireland and then they can fly their flags and change the street sign down there. Its about time they realised that there are 6 county attached to their beloved Ireland that belongs to Britain and always will !!! (sic)

In another, dated, 19 February 2012, she complained:

Them f*****s sent my Census form back!! In answer to one question, ‘Do you have any dependents your paying for?’, I put, ‘MPs, asylum seekers, gypos, smack heads, paedophiles, prisoner’s, the cast of the Jeremy Kyle Show, Northern Rock, RBS, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and half of f***** Eastern Europe!… (sic)

Asked about the rants following her election yesterday, the leader of TUV failed to condemn his new councillor. Jim Allister told BBC Radio Ulster that he had not seen the messages but that if people were in the business of “trawling through” what any not-then politician or not-then councillor said, then they could come up with many “interesting and colourful things”.

He described it as an “unfair fishing exercise”, claiming it was an attempt by the BBC to demean his party.

“It is a pretty poor show,” he told presenter Wendy Austin.

Meanwhile, speaking to the BBC herself, Bunting said she will work hard for the people in the Court ward of Belfast, where she works and lives.

And promised to be “a thorn in the flesh of Sinn Féin and the DUP” in City Hall.

“But I will be constructive and will make sure that the people of the Court ward are happy.”

She also praised Allister:

Jim speaks the truth. Jim says what I think. That’s why I chose TUV. He delivers truth and stability and common sense politics.

The Belfast Telegraph reports this morning that Bunting offered a form of apology for the 2011 comments, stating that she had written them “in the wrong”.

I’ve matured since then and I realise now that ranting on Facebook isn’t going to change anything. The council chamber is where I will be voicing my concerns.

She said she still agrees with much of the sentiment put across in the posts – that she doesn’t want tricolours flown in Belfast or the names of streets changed.

She believes that her community is “frustrated” by a “constant pandering to Sinn Féin.

However, she did say she was sorry for causing offence by using the word Catholic.

“I do want to apologise for the innocent people in the Court ward who I offended with by using the word Catholic when I meant republicans,” she told the newspaper, adding that her understanding and knowledge has grown and matured since joining the TUV.

Who is your new local councillor? Here’s a list of everyone elected so far

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