Former deputy mayor Dineen Walker has launched a bitter broadside at the Democratic Unionist Party after she missed out on the chance of becoming mayor.
Cllr Walker, who has served as a DUP councillor for 11 years, had been expected to take over as first citizen at last Monday night’s council AGM.
However, after she hit the headlines for posting a controversial comment about Alliance MLA Anna Lo on a social media site just days before the meeting, senior DUP officials decided that the role should go to her party colleague, Cllr Thomas Hogg.
In an exclusive interview with the Times this week, 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 during the row over his contentious remarks about Muslims.
“That comment that I made doesn’t justify me being denied the post of mayor,” she said. “I made a comment against Anna Lo, but I feel Peter Robinson made a worse comment than I did and was still able to hold his post and had a lot of support from the party as well.
“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, who was congratulated during last week’s AGM for carrying out her deputy mayor’s duties over the past year with “professionalism” and “great distinction”, 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.”
• Read the full interview in this week’s Times (on sale now)