Pregnant SDLP Assembly candidate Nichola Mallon struck a defiant tone after being sent a bullet in the post, vowing not to be “bullied into silence”.
She described the threat as an “affront to democracy” and suggested it had come from “thugs and paramilitaries” reacting to her “legitimate questions” about how public money is being spent.
She has been a fierce critic of Stormont’s Social Investment Fund and has demanded the resignation of alleged UDA boss Dee Stitt as chief executive of Charter NI.
The SDLP woman’s criticism followed the awarding of £1.7 million in public money to Charter NI by the Social Investment Fund.
Ms Mallon, who lives in north Belfast with her husband and 18-month-old child, said she would not be put off asking questions.
“As someone who has stood before the electorate and been elected to represent the people of north Belfast, I am entitled to ask questions about how public money is being spent,” she said.
“It is an affront to democracy that thugs and paramilitaries react to these legitimate questions by threatening and attempting to intimidate me.
“Like many others in the SDLP before me I will not be bullied into silence.”
Her party leader, Colum Eastwood, also said she wouldn’t be put off.
Mr Eastwood said: “Nichola Mallon is a first-class public representative. The cowards who have threatened her couldn’t lace her boots. This won’t put her off.”
A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “We do not discuss the security of individuals.
“However, if we receive information that a person’s life may be at risk we will inform them accordingly.
“We never ignore anything which may put an individual at risk.”