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Ex-Ulster BNP race hate boss does u-turn in online peace message

Kieran Devlin
Kieran Devlin

The former boss of the BNP in Ulster has sensationally binned race hate politics and is urging people to ‘love their neighbour’.

Kieran Devlin was the most senior figure within the far-right party in Northern Ireland until 2010 when he took up a UK-wide role as party spin doctor.

Bald-headed Devlin – who went by his activist name Kieran Dinsmore when he was on BNP duty –played his part in sowing the seeds of racial division in Ulster and was instrumental in helping set up the BNP’s secret UK fundraising centre in Dundonald.

He once failed in a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) after he claimed we had “sullied” the ‘good name’ of the BNP in an article about race hate attacks in north Antrim being carried out by a BNP member.

The Sunday World first came across his work as far back as 2005 when he was behind a nasty leaflet campaign in Bangor where he lived.

The leaflets warned Northern Ireland faced being “swamped” by Muslims and blamed immigrants for causing “rampant crime and squalor”.

But this week Devlin has bravely spoken out about his time within the BNP and how they used ‘clever’ marketing tricks to convince the public into believing the things they did.

Devlin has filmed an upfront video (below) for anti-fascist group Open Your Eyes to Hate admitting he had been wrong about immigrants all along.

In the video, which is almost two minutes long, Kieran admits he was until recently a spin-doctor for the race hate party.

He says his role as spin doctor was to, “try and sweeten the look of the BNP” to make the party look like a party the electorate could vote for.

He says BNP members, like himself, attended workshops where they were taught to wear suits, wear a nice watch and avoid having a skinhead in an attempt to convince the public the party wasn’t just for far-right thugs.

“They were schooling themselves to look politically moderate whilst being extreme,” he explains.

And he admits literature he handed out dehumanised other races and particularly immigrants by frightening people into thinking their area was going to be flooded with immigrants.

He then adds: “But until you meet somebody and shake their hand, look them in the eye, you can’t truly say anything about that person.

“People think that once you’ve put your flag in the ground that you cannot change that position and I’m telling them you can change that position.

“Stop believing the hate-preaching from the right-wing media. You know your neighbour is your neighbour.

“Let’s just treat each other a wee bit more human.”

Devlin was close to BNP big wig Nick Griffin and he regularly organised trips for the former MEP to visit Northern Ireland.

And he worked closely with Scottish loon Jim Dowson when the BNP decided to set up its UK fundraising base in an unmarked unit at the back of a Belfast industrial estate.

Around that time he claimed Special Branch had been trying to recruit him.

After our first story in 2005 about the inflammatory leaflets Kieran was handing out around Bangor he sent us a cheeky Christmas card thanking us for being the “best recruiting sergeant” he could have wished for.

But the truth was the Ulster branch of the party was widely regarded as an embarrassment to the rest of the party due to its lack of members.

Kieran Devlin’s public denouncement of the BNP will be a further embarrassment for the party which has largely vanished from political life after having some relative success at the polls in parts of England and Wales in the last decade.

But it will be widely welcomed by those groups opposing the far right especially as it comes at a time when race attacks have increased across the UK.

The video has been shared over 1,000 times and has been greatly received by the public with many leaving positive comments about his bravery in speaking publicly about his road to Damascus.

Check out Kieran’s Video at facebook.com/OpenYourEyestoHate.

Steven.moore@sundayworld.com