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

 

 

A Woman’s Right to Choose

Supporting a woman's right to choose

Supporting a woman’s right to choose

Pro Choice Rally in Belfast

Workers Party members joined with hundreds of ‘Pro-Choice’ supporters at a rally in Belfast yesterday.

The Party recognises that women have the right to control their own bodies, including their fertility, and to pursue all reproductive choices.

This is fundamental to any reasonable concept of gender equality in order to achieve full political, social, and economic equality with men.

The Party also opposes the paternalistic attitude that regards women as second class citizens incapable of making their own decisions and strongly condemns those who engage in anti-choice harassment and abuse.

The Party supports a full programme of secular sex education for schools, free access to contraception, proper health and social care for pregnant women, the provision of appropriate free and quality child care facilities and adequate support for single and low income parents.

The Workers’ Party believes in a woman’s right to choose and supports the provision of free and safe abortion in her own country which will include practical facilities to support women seeking an abortion and quality post-abortion care.

Once again – Belfast says ‘NO’ to racism!

Belfast says 'No to Racism'

Belfast says ‘No to Racism’

Many thought that with the success of last week’s anti – racism rally, along with today’s appalling weather,  that there would be a low turn out. But once again Belfast has said ‘No to Racism’ in its thousands.

Apologies from the First Minister Peter Robinson and from Pastor McConnell for their remarks about Muslims have not quenched public outrage and a commitment to publically oppose racism and racist attacks.

Today’s march through Belfast city centre was organised jointly by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) and Amnesty International.

While the battle against racism and racist attacks needs to continue there is also a need to pressurise the Northern Ireland Executive at Stormont on its Racial Equality Strategy which has been promised since 2007 but has yet to be published.

 

Photographs from today’s demonstration

http://www.flickr.com/photos/workerspartyni/sets/72157645047527921/

 

Racism – it hasn’t gone away!

ni-unite-against-racisim-march-june-2014_548x548

 

Unite Against Racism

As a follow up to last week’s very successful Anti-Racism rally a second demonstration has been arranged for this weekend.

This Saturday’s Unite Against Racism March has been organised by the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (NIC-ICTU) Amnesty International and the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) and takes place against a backdrop of on-going racism and racist attacks.

 

Public stand                                                                                                                          Racism is a very real and growing problem in Northern Ireland. Recent events are not a soap opera and they are not entertainment. They are real, they are dangerous and they have the support of far too many people. It is important that everyone opposed to racism takes a very public stand against it.

This is a matter for everyone in Northern Ireland to become involved in. There must be a robust public discussion about the type of society we want and the values its holds. But in the end the principles are very clear and very simple. Racism is wrong. It will always be wrong.

Details:                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Assemble from 1:30pm in Writers’ Square facing St. Anne’s Cathedral to march through central Belfast.

The organisers say the purpose of the march is to reassure ethnic and religious minorities in Northern Ireland that they are a welcome and integral part of the community and to call for effective and united political leadership against racism

Thousands rally in Belfast against racism

DSC_5999

Thousands rally in Belfast against racism

The several thousand people who gathered at Belfast City Hall this afternoon to say ‘No to  Racism’ are representative of many thousands more throughout Northern Ireland.

While it would be wrong to underestimate the support which people like Pastor McConnell and Peter Robinson have, it would also be wrong to believe that there is not a large and growing body of people who reject racism in any form and who are prepared to publicly declare that opposition.

The physical attacks, the intimidation and the de-humanisation of ethnic minorities are on the increase.

80% of hate crimes are thought to go unreported but last year police in Northern Ireland dealt with more than 980 racist incidents: almost three every day. The majority of incidents occurred in the greater Belfast area and represented an increase of 50% on the previous year’s figures. One-third of all racist incidents in 2013 /14 were acts of violence against the person.

This cannot continue and the mind-set which leads the First Minister of the Assembly to say he would trust Muslim’s to go to the shops has to be challenged and overturned.

This is clearly far too important an issue for the Assembly. This is a matter for everyone in Northern Ireland to become involved in. There must be a robust public discussion about the type of society we want and the values its holds. But in the end the principles are very clear and very simple. Racism is wrong. It will always be wrong.

Photographs from today’s Rally

 https://www.flickr.com/photos/workerspartyni/sets/72157644931147271/

 

 

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