Would-be mayor: ‘This wouldn’t have happened to a man’

Dineen Walker during her term as deputy mayor
Dineen Walker during her term as deputy mayor

A former Newtownabbey deputy mayor has launched a bitter broadside at the DUP after she missed out on becoming mayor.

Dineen Walker, who has served as a DUP councillor for 11 years, had been expected to take over as first citizen at last Monday’s council AGM. However, after she hit the headlines for suggesting on a social media site that Alliance MLA Anna Lo was “racist towards the people of Northern Ireland”, senior DUP officials decided that the role should go to her party colleague, Thomas Hogg.

In an interview with the Newtownabbey Times, the 54-year-old care home worker hit out at the party, claiming that it used her as “a scapegoat” in order to “take the flak off” First Minister Peter Robinson after his remarks about Muslims.

She said: “I feel totally let down. I feel totally discriminated against.

“I honestly think that if a man had made that same comment he’d still have got the post.”

The Rathcoole woman added: “I honestly think what has happened is that the comment I made and the time that I made it, it was easier to put the flak on me and take the flak off Peter Robinson. And I lost the mayorship over it.”