Monday, February 26, 2024

PSNI DROP KENNEDY HATE PROBE

Subscribe Today

Read the full article.

Full story inside this week’s print edition or Login/subscribe to access our Digital Edition & App

THE PSNI have dropped their investigation into Ards councillor Colin Kennedy.

The DUP man was accused of a hate crime after appearing to draw a link between the LBGT community and terrorist group Hamas during a debate in Bangor City Hall at the end of October.

His remarks caused instant outrage, with two politicians, including deputy Mayor Hannah Irwin, walking out of the meeting when he refused to back down.

But the police have now confirmed they’ve closed their investigation, concluding that ‘the threshold had not been met for a criminal offence’.

Last week, Mr Kennedy reappeared in-person at a council meeting for the first time since his behaviour hit the headlines.

For the past few weeks he’d dialled into debates via Zoom, but hadn’t said much.

“It’s great to be back on council on a personal basis,” he commented last week. “This is the first time I’ve been able to attend a meeting with the police’s support.”

Mr Kennedy was reported to the police by one of the politicians who left the October meeting, councillor Ray McKimm.

Mr McKimm went on to declare that he would boycott all debates until the local authority’s rules tackling hate speech in the workplace are extended to include the council chamber.

The Chronicle reached out to both Mr Kennedy and Mr McKimm about the police’s decision to drop the investigation, but neither replied by the time of going to press.

During October’s debate on the Israel-Gaza conflict, Mr Kennedy said: “Do not be surprised when those who enthusiastically endorse the LGBTQIA alphabet soup agenda in the West are the very same people who now seek to defend Hamas.”

He added: “What binds these causes is a deep-seated hatred of the West.”

The DUP man’s words hit provincewide headlines in the days after the debate, with several councillors criticising Mr Kennedy during and after the meeting.

Feeling that he was directly equating the LGBT community with a terrorist group, many councillors from rival parties pledged to report him to the local government ombudsman.

Any investigation from the ombudsman would likely take a year or two to conclude, however.

Mr Kennedy previously hit the headlines in 2021, when he served a six–week ban from the council for bullying and harassing a female fellow councillor.

More articles

This website uses cookies. Using this website means you are okay with this. You can find out more and learn how to manage cookies by clicking the 'More Info' link.