Belfast City Council election candidate Jolene Bunting has denied claims that some of the slogans on her election posters are “racist”.
The independent councillor for the Court District Electoral Area (DEA) in west Belfast has been criticised for erecting posters which say ‘Put veterans before immigrants’ and ‘Local homes for local people’.
Sinn Fein councillor Ciaran Beattie said the posters carry “inflammatory slogans.”
“These posters represent the most regressive and negative aspects of society,” he tweeted.
“There is absolutely no place in Ireland for racism, sectarianism or fascism.”
Alliance candidate Micky Murray branded the posters “blatant, everyday racism”.
“Disgusting behaviour from an elected representative,” he said.
But speaking to the News Letter, Ms Bunting denied the election slogans are racist.
The former TUV councillor, who quit the party in 2017, said: “It is my policy. I am making it quite clear and I have always made it clear. There has never been any doubt that my policy is that local people should come before visitors to the country.”
Asked if she is thinks the people of the Court DEA will take any offence at her election posters, she said “absolutely not”.
And commenting on whether she is confident of securing re-election on May 2, she added: “That will be up to the people of the Court ward to decide.”
Ms Bunting was suspended from Belfast City Council last September after complaints were made against her over her public alignment with anti-Islamic speeches.
The Local Government Commissioner for Standards imposed a four-month interim suspension pending the outcome of an investigation into all of the allegations.
Last week a High Court judge dismissed her appeal against the suspension.