Hannah Kenny tells of her distress after being subjected to ‘terrifying ordeal’ by three men
A People Before Profit candidate has spoken of her “terrifying” ordeal in east Belfast in which she was assaulted, threatened and abused by three men.
Hannah Kenny said she has been left “deeply distressed” by the incident in which one of the men grabbed her by the throat and told her in graphic detail what he would do to her if she returned to the area.
The attack has been reported to the PSNI. It is the latest in a series of incidents in which female election candidates have been targeted.
Ms Kenny told the Belfast Telegraph that she was approached by three males last Saturday whilst she distributed election leaflets in an east Belfast housing estate.
She said she was “subjected to a terrifying ordeal which was sectarian and misogynistic in nature”. The men blocked her path.
She said one of them then grabbed her by the arm and throat before detailing the types of violent acts they would inflict on her if she returned to the area.
Ms Kenny said: “I am deeply distressed by the level of aggression shown towards me for simply delivering election material.
“It was a horrific experience. I’m eight stone and slight. These were three big, bulky, fit men. I was really shocked at what they were doing to a woman with just a bunch of leaflets.
“It wasn’t anything I’d said or done. They were angry at People Before Profit’s presence in the area. They were extremely aggressive.
“While the physical violence was traumatising, it was their words which shook me more.
“The fact that these men told me I had been identified from my election campaign posters in the area before going on to intimidate me is very disturbing.”
Ms Kenny said a minority is intent on polarising the Assembly election campaign.
“Unfortunately, we have seen other election candidates attacked and threatened as well as posters being damaged in various places,” she said.
“These aren’t just attacks on individuals like myself, they are attacks on the democratic process.”
People Before Profit said it was outraged that the incident took place as its activists were out around doors campaigning.
“Our message is that these minority of bullies do not represent the people of east Belfast, or any area,” a spokesperson said.
“People Before Profit are standing in all quarters of Belfast to offer a progressive alternative to division, we won’t allow intimidation to deter us from doing that.”
West Belfast MLA Gerry Carroll said: “Our full support and solidarity is with Hannah after this shameful incident.
“Hannah is a wonderful representative and I am deeply sorry she has had to endure such a traumatic attack.
“I am also extremely proud of Hannah’s work in putting herself forward to offer a progressive voice for east Belfast.
“I would call on everyone to reject this kind of thuggery and fight to leave it in the past.”
Earlier this month, SDLP South Belfast Assembly candidate, Elsie Trainor, was assaulted after challenging two youths who had stolen her posters on the Ravenhill Road.
She gave chase to the poster thieves through Ormeau Park.
Ms Trainor was called a “republican b*****d” as she followed and filmed the individuals in the 15-minute pursuit.
They had been taking down her posters in broad daylight on the Ravenhill Road.
During the episode, she said she was assaulted by one of the youths, and the second tried to grab her mobile phone as she videoed them.
The PSNI is investigating the incident.
South Belfast MP Claire Hanna paid tribute to Ms Trainor’s bravery, and said a “sinister cloud” hung over the Stormont election campaign with intimidation increasingly prevalent.