Derry councillor claims he is being ‘censored’

Councillor Gary Donnelly has complained of being 'censored' after his Facebook account was twice shut down.
Councillor Gary Donnelly has complained of being 'censored' after his Facebook account was twice shut down.

A local councillor who secured the largest mandate in Derry and Strabane in last month’s elections has claimed his social media account has since twice been shut down by the media giant Facebook.

Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly complained that he was kicked off the social media network for a second time over the weekend and that no explanation had been given.

Colr. Donnelly recently topped the poll in The Moor District Electoral Area (DEA) in the local council elections when he secured the biggest mandate of any single councillor in Derry and Strabane and one of the biggest in the North as a whole.

He said his social media account was an important tool for conducting constituency work and for keeping in contact with constituents in The Moor area.

He described the shutting down of his account as “censorship” and an attempt to “disrupt my political activism.

“For the second time in two weeks Facebook have decided to close down my account without any explanation or reason,” blasted Colr. Donnelly.

“I can only assume this is an attempt to censor me and disrupt my political activism.

“Social media is an important tool particularly for elected representatives to contact and liaise with the public and as a result I have lost contact with a number of people who I have been dealing with in the course of my work as an elected representative,” added the local councillor.

The ‘Journal’ contacted Facebook and asked if Colr. Donnelly’s social media profile had been deliberately removed.

However, at the time of going to Press last night no response had been received.

Colr. Donnelly said: “This blatant attempt by Facebook to censor me will not work and will be seen for what it is.

“In the mean time I can be contacted by telephone on 07802 648 444 or, alternatively, by email on gary.donnelly@derrystrabane.com,” he continued.

Colr. Donnelly was first elected to Derry City and Strabane District Council in 2014 when he was also the highest-polling candidate in The Moor DEA.

Though a long-standing member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement in the city, Colr. Donnelly has stood and twice been elected as an Independent candidate.