Belfast’s new mayor, 33, says she was forced to prevent strangers from contacting her on social media after an onslaught of ‘disturbing’ and ‘sexually explicit’ posts
- Alliance Party Councilor Kate Nicholl Forced to Turn Off Parts of Her Social Media
- She says more needs to be done to ‘normalize’ powerful women in politics
- Balmoral representative was installed as the Mayor of Belfast on 1 June juni
The new mayor of Belfast has said she has been forced to turn off some of her social media because of the ‘disturbing’ and ‘sexually explicit’ messages she receives.
Kate Nicholl, 33, was inducted into the position earlier this month and says she has faced a barrage of ‘really inappropriate’ online messages — so much so that she had to block all strangers from communicating with her .
In an interview with Belfast Live, the Alliance Party councilor said she “hates” how typical it has become for women in high positions to be bullied sexistically online.
The mum-of-one said more needs to be done to support women in politics – and admitted that if she had already given birth to her 18-month-old son Cian, she would have been deterred from running.
Kate Nicholl, 33, was installed as mayor earlier this month and says she has faced a barrage of ‘really inappropriate’ private messages on social media
“I get a lot of really inappropriate messages and Facebook is the worst,” she said. “I turned off my direct messages just because they were sexually explicit and quite disturbing.
“Perhaps the most disturbing thing right now is that it’s not disturbing — it’s part of it. I’m really annoyed that it’s just normalized.’
Ms Nicholl, councilor for the Balmoral area in South Belfast, says ‘a lot needs to be done’ to get more women into politics.
The mother, who is married to businessman Fergal Sherry, admitted that the idea of juggling motherhood and the demands of her job would throw her off the job if given the chance to run again now.
The Alliance Party councilor said she ‘has hated’ how typical it has become for women in high positions to be bullied sexistically online
Mrs Nicholl is the the first person in recent times to hold the mayor’s office who was not born in the UK or Ireland and immigrated with her mother to Belfast from Zimbabwe at the age of 12.
Her mother is from South Africa, while her father is from County Down, Northern Ireland and the family fled Marondera when violence broke out in the country in 2000.
Ms Nicholl attended Methodist College Belfast before working as a researcher for Anna Lo, a former Alliance Party president.
The mother said more needs to be done to support women in politics. She is pictured with husband Fergal Sherry and their 18-month-old son Cian
She joined Belfast City Council in 2016 and has taken a career break from her job in marketing as she undergoes her one-year term as mayor.
She succeeded DUP councilor Frank McCoubrey as the city’s mayor, saying her rise to that position sent “a positive message to all other newcomers.”
“Belfast is a diverse, vibrant multicultural city and I think the fact that the Mayor of Belfast, the first citizen, will be someone who was not born here, who chose to come home and who really embraces the city is really positive,” said Mrs Nicholl.