Cllr Georgina Milne lodges complaint over far right video

Thursday December 21 2017

Green Party councillor Georgina Milne has made a complaint to the Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards over the behaviour of independent Councillor Jolene Bunting.

The Green Party said she believes Councillor Bunting may have breached Belfast City Council’s Code of Conduct when she targeted Belfast Islamic Centre with one of the leaders of far right group Britain First.

Councillor Milne, who represents East Belfast, described Councillor Bunting’s comments, published on social media win a video with Jayda Fransen, as “stomach-churning” and tantamount to hate speech, while also being inaccurate and untrue.

“This video captures Cllr Bunting and Ms. Fransen standing outside the present Belfast Islamic Centre speaking out against the creation of a second Islamic Centre in Belfast,” Councillor Milne said in her complaint.

“It encapsulates both parties’ prejudice against, and intolerance of, the Muslim faith.  Most importantly and of most relevance to this complaint, I believe that Cllr Bunting’s comments and endorsement of Ms. Fransen’s comments may constitute a breach of the Councillor Code of Conduct and may therefore warrant investigation by the Commissioner.”

The video, filmed outside the south Belfast centre, contained references by Jayda Fransen to dens of iniquity and described the building as a monstrosity.

Councillor Milne said: “The video shows that Cllr Bunting clearly endorses the comments made by Ms. Fransen.

“A number of aspects of the Councillor Principles of Conduct may have been breached, and Cllr Bunting may therefore be accountable under the Local Government Code of Conduct.

“Additionally, the Code clearly states that Councillors have the freedom to express political opinions, but the guideline also states that in doing so, the expression of political opinions should not be in conflict with the Principles of Conduct,” she said.

Last night, Councillor Milne said Belfast is a city that prides itself on its welcoming spirit and the season of peace and goodwill is a time to reach out to neighbours.

“I have offered my full support to Belfast Islamic Centre and the city’s Muslim community. If anyone has experienced hate and harassment, please reach out to me and I will do anything I can to help,” she said.

 

ENDS

 Linda Stewart

028 9052 1141

07594 391264