Party welcomes Marie Stopes judgement

Marie Stopes

Access to services without harassment, intimidation, threats or abuse

The Workers Party has welcomed the judgement in the case of Bernadette Smyth who has been found guilty of harassing Marie Stopes clinic director Ms Dawn Purvis

“Every woman who uses a family planning service, a pregnancy advice service or any other service concerned with her reproductive health and her choices deserves to avail of that service without harassment, intimidation, threats or abuse”, the Party statement said. “That right has been confirmed and upheld by today’s judgement”

“People have right to a point of view, an opinion and an opposing belief, but they don’t have a right to intimidate and harass. In light of this judgement the next logical step is for all those who protest outside the Marie Stopes clinic to desist immediately and allow women to access its services unhindered”, the Party statement concluded

Public debate needed on health services

Civic society needs to lead the debate

Civic society needs to lead the debate

Workers Party General Secretary, John Lowry, has called for civic society to take the lead in the debate on the future of health and social care services.

“Trade unionists, service users and their families are almost alone in responding to the current crisis in the Health Service and the litany of cuts being announced across all sectors”, he claimed.

“This is in stark contrast to the lack of concern being expressed by the Health Committee of the Assembly, by Minister Wells or indeed by any of those charged with securitising the delivery of health care”.

“Instead of a co-ordinated and strategic response, we have individual healthcare professionals shooting from the hip and offering solutions on the hoof. This is clearly not the way to deal with the very real problems we are facing”.

John has  called for what he describes as, “an open, transparent, and courageous debate on the type of health and care services required to deliver quality health outcomes, and deal with decades of health inequalities”.

“I believe that this type of public debate can be the first step in securing the genuine reform of our services. All the options for change need to be developed with people and not for them”, John said

“This will involve challenging vested interests inside and outside of the service and only a full public debate can achieve that. The future of our health and social care services are too important to be left to MLAs and administrators, “he concluded

Conference Report

Eoin McCrea - Board of Governors Hazelwood Integrated College - address the conference during the debate on education

Eoin McCrea – Board of Governors, Hazelwood Integrated College – address the conference during the debate on education

 

In one of the Party’s most successful conferences in recent years members discussed a full range of issues from Devolution and Votes at 16 to Water Charges, Health and Social Care, Education and the Economy

 Class nature of society

In a style and manner absent in other parties conferences, the debate focused on the class nature of society and the implications that has for every aspect of our lives: social, economic, cultural and political.

Repeatedly that analysis was applied to the problems in the health service, the rise of racism, our divided and divisive education system, women in society, the environment,the economy and the  austerity agenda offered as the solution to our economic problems – while the rich get richer and welfare budgets, public services and working people bear the brunt of a full on class based assault.

Read some of the debate at The Conference in Quotes

Copies of some of the main working papers presented at the conference are available through the following links:

Health & Social Care   The NI Economy   Environment & Rural Development

Sectarianism   Devolution in Northern Ireland

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.

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