William Eichler 10 January 2018

Council investigates after extremist makes video announcement from Mayor’s chair

Belfast City Council is investigating a video made by the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First which was shot while she sat in the Lord Mayor's chair.

Jayda Fransen, one of the extremist group’s most vocal spokespeople, will go on trial in April on charges connected with alleged hate speeches made at a rally in Belfast last year.

In the video she thanks her supporters and states that she is facing several charges.

It is understood that Ms Fransen's visit to City Hall was facilitated by independent unionist councillor Jolene Bunting - a move that has been condemned by the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland.

‘Cllr Bunting does her constituents and the people of the entire city a disservice in facilitating this visit,’ said Alliance councillor Sian O'Neill.

‘People here do not want their community linked to fascists and have rejected them time and again. Their views are not reflective of the vast majority of people here and who we are as a city.

‘This video disrespects an office which all parties on the council have sought to undertake in as inclusive a manner as possible.

‘It is an abuse by Cllr Bunting of her privilege to access the robes, the chamber and the Lord Mayor's chair to create a false perception of a link between the council and Britain First, and Alliance has contacted the chief executive to investigate it.’

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: ‘Council has been made aware of the video post and is currently looking into the circumstances.

‘The usual procedures for those wishing to film or use council premises were not followed. We received no request, nor were we made aware of these plans.’

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