DUP appoints Dale Pankhurst as new Belfast councillor
A DUP activist known for his outspoken remarks on Twitter has been selected by the party to become a new Belfast councillor.
Dale Pankhurst will replace Gareth McKee who resigned from Belfast City Council last month to take up other employment.
A Ballysillan resident and Orange bandsman, Mr Pankhurst attended Belfast Boys Model School and is a politics postgraduate student at Queen's University.
Among his online comments, Mr Pankhurst has previously defended burning Sinn Féin election posters on bonfires, saying it is "definitely not a hate crime" like IRA murders during the Troubles.
Mr Pankhurst yesterday described being appointed as a DUP representative for Oldpark as a "great honour".
"Having grown up in the area, I am deeply committed to this community and I look forward to serving the people to the utmost of my ability," he said.
"It is an honour to join the dedicated team of DUP representatives in north Belfast and I look forward to working alongside my party colleagues in this new capacity."
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds welcomed Mr Pankhurst's appointment.
"He has demonstrated a strong commitment to the local community in Oldpark and I know he will be a hard-working councillor going forward," the North Belfast MP said.
Mr Pankhurst will be the 17th co-option to Belfast City Council since the last election in 2014. The next council election is in 2019.