DUP condemns ‘bad behaviour’ aimed at its first gay councillor | UK News

DUP leader Arlene Foster has condemned comments made about the party’s first openly gay councillor.

Alison Bennington was elected to Antrim and Newtownabbey Council on Friday – representing a party that is opposed to same sex marriage.

Former DUP health minister Jim Wells claimed DUP voters felt “very concerned” about the decision to select Ms Bennington.

He added that former party leader, the Reverend Ian Paisley, would be “aghast”.

Rev Paisley once led a campaign to, in his words, Save Ulster from Sodomy and stop the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The DUP's first openly gay candidate, Alison Bennington, celebrates after winning a seat at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
Alison Bennington celebrates after winning a seat on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

Mrs Foster said she was “delighted” with Ms Bennington’s success, adding that Mr Wells should have gone through “the normal routes, through the party, if he had concerns about those issues”.

Speaking in Omagh, she also said the party would be “looking at bad behaviour”.

More from Northern Ireland

In another development, Jeffrey Dudgeon, who went to the European Court of Human Rights in 1981, arguing that the criminalisation of male homosexuality in Northern Ireland contravened the European Convention on Human Rights, has lost his council seat.

The court ruled in his favour, and the region was brought into line with the rest of the UK.

Mr Dudgeon, from the Ulster Unionist Party, had been defending his seat in the Balmoral electoral area of Belfast.

Independent republican councillor Gary Donnelly topped the poll in the Moor electoral area of Londonderry.

Mr Donnelly is considered to be one of the public faces of dissident republicanism in Northern Ireland, and his election comes just weeks after the New IRA said it was behind the murder of journalist Lyra McKee during disturbances in Derry.

John Finucane and Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland, Michelle O'Neill
John Finucane and Sinn Fein’s leader in Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill

Elsewhere, the son of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane has been elected to Belfast City Council.

The Sinn Fein politician said his father had been in his thoughts and he was “absolutely delighted” with the result.

Pat Finucane was 39 when he was shot dead by loyalists in front of his wife and three children in 1989.

His family recently lost a legal challenge over the decision not to hold a public inquiry into his killing.

And a farmer who told Rihanna to put her clothes back on when she made a music video in his corn field has lost his council seat.

Alan Graham, from the Democratic Unionist Party, got hot under the collar when he went to fetch his tractor from the set of the shoot in 2011.

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