17 May 2022

I should not have to put up with this - Derry's deputy mayor speaks about the abuse she receives for simply doing her job

Local politician reveals the abuse she has faced since being elected to council

Cara Hunter

Deputy Mayor Cara Hunter.

Derry's deputy mayor has spoken about the abuse she faces trying to do her job.

SDLP councillor Cara Hunter was elected to Derry City and Strabane District Council last year.

The 24-year-old says that she regularly faces harassment, particularly online.

In an interview with BBC Radio Foyle, Cllr Hunter said she often received messages from people asking her to come out to their house in relation to alleged constituency issues.

Ms Hunter said the messages were 'always from middle-aged men'.

She said that the issues could be sorted out over the telephone.

However, she said that if she refused to go out to the person's house, they threatened to put critical or offensive posts online.

As a result of her fears, Cllr Hunter's contact details have been removed from the council's website.

Cllr Hunter described the actions of such people as 'emotional blackmail'.

"This is a barrier to the capacity to which I can fulfil my job to the full potential," she said.

Cllr Hunter's stance against online abuse has received widespread support.

She said she hoped it would lead to more discussion about the role of young women in politics.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood praised her bravery for speaking out.

Mr Eastwood said no politician should have to face this kind of abuse.

He added that all political representatives should be able to carry out their jobs without 'fear or harassment'.

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