TUV councillor Jolene Bunting 'sorry' for anti-Catholic rants on Facebook
"I'm so sick of the poor Catholic b******* they make me sick"
The first TUV councillor to be elected to Belfast City Council has apologised for sectarian comments she made about Catholics on Facebook.
However, Jolene Bunting (21) said she does not regret their content. Ms Bunting spoke out after comments she made while still a teenager went viral – sparking an angry response on Facebook and Twitter.
Writing on the day after St Patrick's Day in 2011, Ms Bunting wrote: "I'm so sick of the poor Catholic b******* they make me sick.
"I wish they would just go down to Ireland and then they can fly their flags and change the street signs down there.
"It's about time they realised that there are six counties attached to their beloved Ireland that belongs to Britain and always will!"
In another post in February 2012, Ms Bunting encouraged people to complain to supermarket chain Asda because of the St Patrick's Day cards they were selling had "a big f****** tri colour on them."
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, Ms Bunting said that she didn't regret what she had stated but accepted that she wrote them in the wrong way.
"I wrote them in the wrong. I've matured since then and I realise now that ranting on Facebook isn't going to change anything. The council chamber is where I will be voicing my concerns," she said.
"I don't support foreign flags being flown in the streets of our city and I object to the changing of our street names. That's the mandate I was elected on by a community frustrated by the constant pandering to Sinn Fein/IRA."
Ms Bunting was elected as the sixth and final councillor for the Court ward with 839 first preference votes.
"I do want to apologise for the innocent people in the Court ward who I offended with by using the word Catholic when I meant republicans," she said.
"At the time I was young and not a member of the TUV and I know that since then I have matured in my knowledge and understanding."
Ms Bunting also hit out at popular social media group Loyalists Against Democracy (LAD), who first circulated the comments.
"I know that there is a largely student element to those working for LAD and I would think that Queen's University would be keeping their students a bit busier than trawling through Facebook to dig up dirt and slander people."
TUV leader Jim Allister described the incident as an "unfair fishing exercise".
Some of Jolene Bunting's Facebook comments