Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Bidding to become a DUP councillor, the man who posted racial slur against Barack Obama

Candidate: Bobby Harrison-Rice

A veteran political activist who resigned from a policing partnership after using a racial slur against US president Barack Obama is set to run as a DUP council election candidate, it can be revealed.

Bobby Harrison-Rice stood down as vice-chair of Carrickfergus Policing and Community Partnership after an investigation was launched by the Policing Board into his Facebook comments.

Last October, when they were made public, the DUP distanced itself from Mr Harrison-Rice – despite his extensive canvassing work for a number of the party's senior politicians.

But at a DUP meeting in recent days it was confirmed he will stand as a party candidate in the forthcoming council elections.

He is aiming to win a seat in the new council consisting Carrickfergus, Larne and Ballymena.

The move was confirmed by a DUP source last night. However, the party insisted no final decisions had yet been made regarding the election candidate.

Mr Harrison-Rice declined to comment when contacted.

Following the murder of British soldier Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, a comment posted through Mr Rice's account urged the authorities to "find the mosque where they prayed and do every f***** in it".

Other posts included a homophobic slur against UTV presenter Julian Simmons and an attack on BBC broadcaster Stephen Nolan following his questioning of North Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey during his TV show.

Mr Humphrey appeared on The Nolan Show on BBC1 along with fellow North Belfast MLA, Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly. A post in Mr Harrison-Rice's name which appeared on his Facebook page read: "Nolan show now. The fat boy interrupts and questions everything William Humphrey (says). Yet he gives bomber Kelly free reign get a grip of this bias p**** BBC."

Regarding Mr Kelly's appearance on the show, another Facebook user posted that "someone should just put one in the back of his nut. Rotten b******".

Mr Harrison-Rice appeared to have replied, "carefull (sic) mate fb (Facebook) may bar you but fair one".

Another rant, against Barack Obama, was posted while the US president was in Northern Ireland for the G8 Summit in Fermanagh.

A comment in Mr Harrison-Rice's name read: "Didn't think we where (sic) racist in Norn Iron but this mornin (sic) no-one used the motorway because of some coloured guy."

When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph at the time he said he had "no recollection" of posting the comments.

Asked if he agreed with the controversial posts which appeared on his page he said "no".

A DUP spokesman yesterday told the Belfast Telegraph discussions were ongoing regarding election candidates.

He said: "We are presently going through the process of selection and when that's completed an announcement will be made in due course."

A Policing Board spokeswoman told the Belfast Telegraph in October: "The case (involving Mr Harrison-Rice) was considered by the Board's Partnership Committee against the Board's Policy on the Removal of a PCSP member at its meeting on Thursday 10 October 2013.

"A recommendation was made and was due to be passed to the board for consideration at its November meeting.

"The board received correspondence on Friday October 11 confirming Bobby Harrison-Rice's resignation from Carrickfergus PCSP."

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