Northern Ireland Conference

It’s all about Class

It’s all about class 

The Workers Party’s annual Northern Ireland Conference will be held on Saturday 25 October in the Grosvenor Hall, Glengall Street, Belfast.

Because it’s not a policy making conference the debate and discussion is  often more robust and open.

This year we’ll be discussing a range of issues from the future shape of devolution to racism, the economy, women, health and social care services, water charges and fracking.

We’ll be raising the questions that seldom get asked, providing the analysis that others don’t and highlighting the uncomfortable truths about the society we live in.

And, unlike any other party, we’ll not be afraid to say that despite  the ongoing austerity agenda and the myth that ‘we are all in this together’  the facts are that the rich are getting richer and the wealthy are not  suffering. Not now. Not ever.

You’re welcome to attend and to contribute if you wish.

Invitation WP Conf 2014

Party Youth condemns student ‘ border poll’

Keep Queens Neutral

Keep Queens Neutral

Workers Party Youth has condemned the holding of a ‘border referendum’ in Queen’s University Student’s Union claiming that it could set back student relations by years.

Lorna McLarnon of Workers Party Youth has criticised the attempts by nationalist and unionist political societies in the QUBSU to sectarianise the student body.

“While students struggle with the costs of tuition fees, food, rent, transport; as well as the stress of producing assignments and passing exams; the youth wings of the main Stormont parties are attempting to deflect them from these vital issues by placing the focus of the student body on this inherently sectarian issue.”

“You will not see a United Ireland from this poll. Nor will the United Kingdom be strengthened. The only unity coming from this poll will be the unity amongst the Orange and Green ethnic blocs of SF/SDLP and DUP/UUP/TUV.” said Lorna

Workers Party Youth is calling on those eligible to vote in the two referenda on Monday 27th October to support the campaign to Keep Queens Neutral and abstain from Referendum No.1 and vote YES in Referendum No.2.

 

 

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Freezing employees eggs isn’t progress

This does not enhance the role of women in the workforce: Gemma Weir:

This does not enhance the role of women in the workforce: Gemma Weir:

Proposals by global corporations like Apple and Google to freeze their female employees eggs so they can ‘choose to have children later in life’ has been criticised by Workers Party representative Gemma Weir.

“These type of multi-national corporations  are no longer satisfied controlling the means of production and are now intend on controlling reproduction as well”, she said.

“This type of initiative does nothing to improve or enhance the role of women in the workplace. On the contrary it turns pregnancy into an act of disloyalty to your employer”, added Gemma

“Freezing employees eggs will not advance the position of women in the work place. On the other hand, equal pay, equal opportunity, child care support and a recognition that if you want to have customers for your products and a future work force to employ, someone better have some children – and supporting them to do it is the best approach for everyone”, Gemma concluded

Party comments on Racial Equality Strategy

No room for racism - no room for racists

No room for racism – no room for racists

The Workers Party has made a written submission to the Racial Equality Strategy currently being proposed by the NI Executive.  The ‘Sense of Belonging’ document was drafted by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister and circulated for public consultation.

Asserting that ‘race’ is not a descriptor of human diversity the response pointed to the levels of hate crime and discrimination experienced by ethnic minorities and  called for a concerted effort by the  Assembly and all other  agencies in Northern Ireland to address and overcome it.

The Party submission went on to acknowledge the goals set by the draft strategy:

  • to tackle racial inequalities in Northern Ireland and to open up opportunity for all;
  • to eradicate racism and hate crime;
  • along with ‘Together: Building a United Community’, to promote good race relations and social cohesion’.

but argued that the strategy lacked a set of budgeted, detailed outcomes which outline how the goals will be realised .

The Party submission  also highlighted the level of social deprivation in ethnic minority households in Northern Ireland and the  over-representation of  people from minority ethnic groups in low-grade, low-pay jobs.

Read the Party’s submission in full:

Racism_Party Submission to OFMDFM consultation

Big parties cannot be trusted on water charges

 

The possibility of householders in Northern Ireland having to pay water charges within the next two years has been highlighted by Party representative Chris Bailie (Oldpark).

Water Charges within two years?

Water Charges within two years?

“Domestic water charges have been put on hold, but only for the lifetime of this Assembly and the current Programme for Government both of which are due to come to an end in the summer of 2016″, Chris has pointed out.

“In less than two years time this additional domestic charge could be introduced and the privatisation of our water service would be all but complete”, he warned.

Chris took the opportunity this week to discuss water metering and charging with representatives of Northern Ireland Water at a local community meeting. He has also been in contact recently with the Department for Regional Development on this matter and has submitted a Freedom of Information request in relation to water metering and water charges.

“We cannot rely on the major parties to act in the public interest in this matter. The general consensus is that they will opt to introduce direct charges for domestic water after the next elections. By then of course it will be too late to stop it”, said Chris

“The introduction of metering and charging households for their water supply begs the question ‘What type of society do we want to live in’? The main parties are quite comfortable in turning public utilities into private companies. They have no qualms about a society where the relentless pursuit of profit takes priority and everything is measured by its retail value alone. Nor have they any difficulties acting as the middle man in converting public ownership into private profit”, Chris warned.

“Only a united, focussed and responsible community response can prevent the introduction of domestic water charges. That campaign needs to start today – time is not on our side”, Chris concluded.

Focus must be on Gaza

Our focus must be on Gaza – not on senseless sectarianism

Gaza, not Galloway, is the issue

Speaking ahead of George Galloway’s appearance at the Ulster Hall, Workers Party General Secretary John Lowry has said.

‘Only in Northern Ireland could an international humanitarian crisis like Gaza be kicked about like a political football’

If ever the futility of sectarianism was in doubt then the nationalist / unionist bickering over George Galloway’s presence in Belfast highlights its senselessness’, he said

Read the full statement here: Focus on Gaza

The Importance of Pride

Workers Party - proudly supporting Pride

Workers Party – proudly supporting Pride

Torrential rain couldn’t dampen the sprits of the thousands of people who turned out to take part in and support Belfast Pride 2014.

The now customary colourful, relaxed and eclectic parade has become a civic fixture despite Belfast being a city which had much left to do to fully demonstrate its LGBT credentials.

There were over 250 homophobic attacks in Northern Ireland last year but Equality Commission research suggests that over 80% of  crimes against the LGBT community go unreported.

PRIDE is an important event not just because it is critical to publically support people whose sexuality makes them the subject of discrimination, abuse and attacks but because it is also an opportunity to demonstrate the type of inclusive society we wish to live in.

Synagogue attacks condemned

Synagogue vandalised

Synagogue attacked

Gemma Weir:

‘No excuse': Gemma Weir:

 

Two weekend attacks on the Jewish Synagogue in North Belfast have been condemned by local Workers Party representative Gemma Weir.

“There is no reason and no excuse for the damage caused to  Belfast’s synagogue” Gemma said. “These incidents are quite rightly being treated as  hate crimes by the PSNI and I urge anyone with any information to contact the police”.

“On a weekend when thousands of Belfast citizens demonstrated their opposition to Israeli attacks against Gaza and it’s people it is outrageous that members of the Jewish faith should be the subject of this type of mindless attack in our city. There is absolutely no connection between Israeli military attacks on Gaza and  the local Jewish religious community”, she said

“As with other types of hate crime it is important that the north Belfast community demonstrates its support for the Jewish community at this time and fully supports the PSNI in their investigation”, concluded Gemma.

 

Gaza Protests Continue

Candlelit vigil against Israeli slaughter

Candlelit vigil against Israeli slaughter

Candlelit vigil outside BBC

On a day when Gaza suffered the highest death toll since the Israeli offensive began on July 8th,  at least 87 people were reported killed – 60 of them in one area.

A candlelit protest vigil outside the BBC in Belfast marked the city’s continued and growing opposition to Israeli attacks on the civilian population of Gaza. and the justified outrage at the BBC’s and other media reporting of the situation.

Workers Party members at the vigil were making a number of demands including:

  • an immediate cessation of the Israeli attacks against Gaza;
  • an immediate end to the blockade;
  • the removal of Israeli occupation forces from all Palestinian and Arab territories;
  • the immediate end of all political, economic and military agreements between the EU and Israel;
  • an end to the occupation;
  • the immediate end to the settlements and the withdrawal of the settlers;
  • the immediate release from custody of all Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli detention;
  • the implementation of the recommendations of the Goldstone Report together with steps to hold Israel, including its political
  • and military leaders, responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity;
  • the removal of the “apartheid” wall dividing Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza

 

Stop the slaughter in Gaza

Stop the slaughter in Gaza

Stop the slaughter in Gaza

As thousands of people joined a protest in Belfast against Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza, the Workers Party has condemned the slaughter of Palestinian men, women and children and demanded an immediate end to Israeli attacks, the removal of Israeli  forces from all Palestinian territories and the end of all political, economic and military agreements between the European Union and Israel.

Gaza has a population of 1.8 million, almost half of whom are children under the age of 14. Since 2006 Israel has killed well over 3,000 Palestinian men, women and children in Gaza alone. The current barbaric Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people  continues and escalates. Already this operation has caused more than 300 deaths, thousands injured and more than 50,000 have been forced to flee their homes in the face of a vicious military assault from land, sea and air.

Deliberate

The deliberate targeting by Israel of civilians, including children, the selection of hospitals, residential apartment buildings, rehabilitation facilities for the disabled, schools and mosques is clear evidence of a campaign of collective punishment of a civilian population in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949.

See the Party statement in full at: WP Gaza Statement July 2014

 

 

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