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The Mayor-Elect earlier in her career with former US President, Bill Clinton Source: Liam McBurney – PA Images / Getty

Councilor Lilian Seenoi-Barr is set to make history as the first Black mayor in Northern Ireland, but her historic appointment has drawn criticism from local politicians and controversial conspiracy theorists like David Icke and morally and financially bankrupt Alex Jones who, in just one of his ongoing vulgar rants–the he repeated over and over that no children, no adults were actually killed at Sandy Hooks about–was ordered to pay $1.5 billion (the final settlement is currently pending).

Still, the fearless member of the Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP), isn’t listening to the noise. 

On April 29, Seenoi-Barr, a refugee who migrated to Northern Ireland from Kenya, was selected as the new mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council.

In a recent interview with local news outlet Belfast Live, Seenoi-Barr said she was “aware” of the opposition to her historic election, particularly from online critics. Without any evidence (as usual) Alex Jones recently insinuated that the politician’s victory was manipulated by SDLP party leadership.

In an April 28 article published on his InfoWars website–notorious for disseminating horrific misinformation,–Jones alleged that party officials opted to nominate Seenoi-Barr “outright disenfranchising hundreds of party members” instead of conducting a fair election. 

“It will not affect me,” Seenoi-Barr, said of the bizarre allegation. She will begin her role as Mayor of Derry in June, she told Belfast Live, according to News Break. 

“I am genuinely not interested…” the mayor-elect shared. “I was elected by the people of Foyleside. I topped the poll for the SDLP. That was my public approval.”

Seenoi-Barr added, “I’m being stopped everywhere, with people saying congratulations, that they are delighted for us and delighted for the city. That’s what I’m going to focus on.”

Northern Ireland, Ulster flag, UK

Northern Ireland, Ulster Flag, Source: daboost / Getty

 

Like Jones, Icke also slammed Seenoi-Barr.

David Icke, a British conspiracy theorist who falsely claimed the coronavirus was spread by 5G mobile phone networks, also made allegations about the soon-to-be mayor’s candidacy. 

Expressing his disapproval with a recent interview in which Seenoi-Barr vowed to take action against a small group of Irish “terrorists” harming migrants throughout Northern Ireland, Icke suggested the Kenyan official was pushed forward to win by SDLP party members after her opponents, councilor Shauna Cusack and Jason Barr were reportedly removed from the process and competition, the BBC noted.  Cusack and Jason resigned from the SDLP amid the controversy. 

In a Facebook post shared Monday, Jason noted that his decision to leave the party wasn’t easy.

“I simply cannot be involved in a party that doesn’t stick to party democratic processes. Values that the party was built upon is seemingly being ignored. Please know this has nothing to do with the party locally and the team or SDLP councilors in DCSDC, but the party management and HQ,” he added before wishing Seenoi-Barr luck in her new position. 

Amid the controversy, Colum Eastwood, the SDLP party leader, stepped in to defend Seenoi-Barr

“The racially motivated attacks on Lilian over the weekend and today have been coordinated by far-right political actors hell bent on spreading misinformation to fuel their own appalling ideology,” Eastwood said in a statement, according to Derry Now.  

“These people don’t care about places like Derry and Strabane, they don’t care about the people who live here and have made a home for their families here. The hate at the heart of their politics could not stand more starkly against the compassion that Lilian has shown for the people of Derry, people across this island, and those in need even further afield.”

Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Michelle O’Neill, also showed her support for the Democrat.

 “I want to offer my full support to councillor Lilian Seenoi-Barr,” she penned on X, April 30. “There can be absolutely no place in our society for this abhorrent racist and misogynistic abuse. Those responsible do not speak for the wonderful and welcoming people of Derry and Strabane, and the work being done to build a better future for all.”

Who is Councilor Lilian Seenoi-Barr?

The Independent reported that Seenoi-Barr’s mayoral victory followed another historic achievement. In 2023, she became  the first Black politician elected to public office in Northern Ireland. She previously served as a councilor in the Foyleside district of Derry.

The Kenyan-born official joined the SDLP team in June 2021, bringing with her a wealth of experience and dedication, according to her bio on the SDLP website. As the Director of Programmes at the North-West Migrants Forum, she has emerged as a steadfast advocate for migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees who have chosen to establish roots and build lives in Derry.

Seenoi-Barr commitment to human rights spans decades, with a particular focus on championing the rights of Maasai women and girls. In 1999, she played a pivotal role in co-founding the Maasai Education Discovery-Brides Rescue Project. This initiative aimed to rescue young girls from the grips of early forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Through collaborative efforts, Lilian and her team pressured the Kenyan government to enact legislation safeguarding the rights of women and girls while advocating for free primary education in marginalized communities.

Seenoi-Barr’s election victory comes nearly a decade after Nigerian politician, Rotimi Adebari, was elected as the first Black Mayor of Portlaoise, Ireland, in 2007.

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Northern Ireland’s First Black Mayor Isn’t Affected By Criticism From Conspiracy Theorists And Haters Alike  was originally published on newsone.com