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Sun May 26, 2024, 12:59 PM May 26

Refugee braves racist abuse to become Northern Ireland's first black mayor


Refugee braves racist abuse to become Northern Ireland’s first black mayor

Lilian Seenoi-Barr, who arrived from Kenya in 2010, will make history when she receives chain of office in Derry

Rory Carroll Ireland correspondent
Sun 26 May 2024 09.00 EDT

Lilian Seenoi-Barr will make history on 3 June when she receives the chain of office at Derry’s guildhall and becomes Northern Ireland’s first black mayor.

It will be the culmination of a personal and political journey that began in 2010 when she arrived as a refugee from Kenya and became part of the region’s growing multi-ethnic identity.

Intimidation was deterring some “good politicians” from challenging hate-mongers, said Seenoi-Barr. “It is the fear.” But threats from “keyboard warriors” would not stop her leading the council, she said. “This city has given me so much, it has given me a family, it has given me a safe environment, it’s given me friends and it’s given me a home, so all you really want to do is give back.”


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