NI's first black Mayor 'ready' as disgraced conspiracy theorists Alex Jones and David Icke latch on to news

Northern Ireland's first ever black Mayor has said she is "ready" for abuse from far-right "hate mongers", including the disgraced American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Lillian Seenoi-Barr, who is originally from Kenya, is set to make history when she becomes Mayor of Derry City and Strabane council in June.

News of her selection by the SDLP has been greeted with a torrent abuse from the far-right online, including conspiracy theorists such as David Icke and Alex Jones.

Read more: NI's first ever black politician on lack of ethnic minority MLAs in Executive

Read more: History made in Northern Ireland as Cllr Lilian Barr selected to become country's first black Mayor

She told Belfast Live she is "aware" of the abuse, but is "not interested" because she knows the people of Derry will defend her.

Alex Jones, known for peddling conspiracy theories around everything from the tragic Sandy Hook massacre in the USA to the moon landings, launched a tirade on his bizarre 'Info Wars' talk show where he repeatedly referred to Derry as 'Derby' and falsely claimed there are "new rules" for the selection of Mayoral positions in Derry.

The conspiracy theorist David Icke, famous for claiming a cabal of lizard people is maniupulating world events, also took to Twitter to share his views on the SDLP's choice of Mayor.

The online reaction hasn't deterred Mrs Barr, who first made history as the first ever black politician to be elected in Northern Ireland at the last council poll in 2022.

"I'm being stopped everywhere, with people saying congratulations, that they are delighted for us and delighted for the city," she told Belfast Live. "That's what I'm going to focus on.

"I am aware of it, but it will not affect me. I am genuinely not interested. People are telling me about it, but I am not interested.

"I was elected by the people of Foyleside. I topped the poll for the SDLP. That was my public approval. I put my name forward because I knew that I had the public approval."

The latest online reaction isn't her first brush with the far-right online, she said.

Last year, a video clip of her discussing far-right protests on the BBC Sunday Politics show was circulated on fringe forums and social media channels around the world.

"It was trending around that time," she said. "I was getting a lot of threats. I informed the PSNI."

She visited Kenya late last year, seeking to reassure concerned family members.

"I told them I wouldn't have been elected if the people of Derry did not see me as one of them," she said. "I deserve a chance to work for the community.

"I said the people of Derry didn't elect me because I am a black person. They elected me because they saw my talent and hard work in the community. Now, I am back and I am ready."

She added: "We have a lot of allies in this city and district, genuine racial justice fighters. I know that, in this city, we are protected."

She added: "That's not to say there aren't those nutters who are coming here, or that there are no racist people in the city, but 99% don't care with the way you look.

"If these people are coming out it is because we are strong. They are afraid of us. We can handle it. I am one of many black people here who would love to be in a position of authority, but many haven't been able to put their names forward because of fear of such backlash.

"I feel like I have to stand strong for them, to show that as long as you are committed, as long as you are dedicated, as long as you do your job right when you are elected, the people of this city and district will defend you - and that's what matters to me right now."

For all the latest news, visit the Belfast Live homepage here and sign up to our daily newsletter here.