Lyons: Ombudsman Should Consider Suspending Jolene Bunting from Public Office
SDLP Belfast Cllr Donal Lyons:
"Posting a caricature which has sectarian and racist undertones is disgusting and offensive in itself, but sharing an image which makes fun of autistic children is beyond disgusting. It beggars belief that this has been posted by somebody holding elected office.
"The cartoon frog ‘Pepe’ which Jolene shared was adopted a number of years ago by racist and extreme-right trolls. It’s been used to attack different groups and the particular version that Jolene shared was aimed at autistic children. Twisting a phrase that’s used to help children with autism and turning it into a sectarian jag about the famine is beyond contemptable.
"Sadly, we’ve learnt to expect little better from Jolene Bunting when it comes to sectarian and racist, dog whistle politics, but this is a new low.
"I’ve contacted the Local Government Ombudsman to add this latest moronic and hate filled behaviour to my existing complaint. However as I've told the ombudsman previously, I’m disappointed at how long it is taking for them to carry out their investigation. When I made my initial complaint in December 2017 I was told the target for completion of their investigation would be 12 months. When it is clear that Jolene’s actions are not an isolated one off but are part of a wider and worrying pattern, then surely the investigation can be prioritised and completed quicker than the statutory target.
"The Ombudsman’s office has the power to suspend this Councillor from public office, and I believe that she should considering doing so before the voters in the Court electoral area make their decision next year."