“The calling card of politically bankrupt gangsters…”

attacks sf homesWorkers Party condemns bomb attacks

The Workers Party has condemned last night’s attacks on the homes of two members of Sinn Fein.

It has never been acceptable to bomb people, their families or their homes – it never will be.  Irrespective of who committed these acts they are repugnant acts of terror and the work of people who have nothing whatsoever to offer our society.

This is the calling card of politically bankrupt gangsters.

They should desist immediately whether they are targeting homes in west Belfast or orchestrating sectarian violence in Derry.

Anyone with any information should get in touch with the PSNI before serious injuries are inflicted or lives are lost.

 

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Naked sectarianism in action

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A blatant and orchestrated orgy of sectarian violence

“There can be no excuses for the events in Derry over recent days. They are quite simply inexcusable”, the Workers Party has said.

What we have been witnessing is a blatant and orchestrated orgy of sectarian violence.

This cannot be diluted, dismissed or downgraded to ‘community tensions’ or ‘seasonal civil unrest’  as some commentators, media outlets and politicians have attempted to do.

This is an outright, planned and resourced sectarian assault on the Fountain area of the city and its residents. It is now also the  attempted murder of police officers.

Ultimately, it will be the united actions of the community which will overcome this bigoted onslaught and those who plan and perpetrate it.

This is not a time for pandering or platitudes. This is naked sectarianism in action. There are no excuses, there can be no compromises.

Anyone and everyone with any information about these  sectarian attacks or planned attacks should pass that information to the PSNI without delay.

Celebrating and defending the NHS at 70

NHS It's not safe

A clear message: the NHS is not safe in private hands

A health and care system under attack                                                                  We hear it that often that there is a real danger than people will  start believing it:

“…we can’t afford the NHS anymore”,  ” …there are too many old people”, “…the system is being abused by ‘health tourists'” , “…obese people shouldn’t get treatment”, “…people with addictions only have themselves to blame” and. of course,“…it would be better off being run privately because people would value it more”!

Newspapers, media. commentators, government and of course local political parties all repeat the same false message – “We can’t afford the NHS”

Bought and sold                                                                                                    But driving that camapign are the multinational healthcare companies, the pharmaceutical industry, the private consultants, the care-home owners, the venture capitalists,  the get rich quick investment companies and, of course, the right wing supporters of the  free-market economy.

To them, health and care is just another commodity to be bought. sold and profited from – exactly the same as any other resource or service they can get their hands on.

The NHS is not safe in private hands                                                                       A properly funded health and social care service designed to deliver quality outcomes is central to a humane and decent society: but those principles are far from safe and secure.

There must be an end to ‘creeping privatisation’, to the outsourcing of health and care services and jobs to the private sector. Vested interests, including the vested interests of private healthcare, must be confronted and challenged.  

Austerity and privatisation                                                                             Report after report shows that health inequalities in Northern Ireland have been persisting at the same level or worse for the past ten years.

Health inequalities have a number of root causes, but poverty, unemployment, low pay, educational under- achievement and the lack of decent public housing all feature as key factors. All of these factors are compounded by a political programme of austerity and privatisation

Reclaiming health and social care                                                                          We can continue to ignore our health needs and watch hospital admissions grow out of control, patients die on trolleys and be abused in private care homes and the system go into melt down, or we can address the problem by reclaiming our health and social care services and bringing them back into full, publicly funded, public ownership.

If we can afford nuclear submarines,  rocket attacks on Syria, and waging war on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya then we can afford a first class, publicly funded health and social care service, free at the point of delivery  – and we can afford to value those who deliver it.

 

 

Ballysillan parade changes welcomed

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Kilcoole parade: ‘an example of  how to handle a potentially difficult situation’, Gemma Weir

Ballysillan parade changes welcomed

The Workers Party has welcomed the measures taken by Cavehill Temperance LOL 1956 ahead of its ‘Floating of the Banner’ parade on July 6th.

The Lodge shortened the original parade route and leafleted the Kilcoole / Mountcoole / Duncoole area to explain its decision, and the purpose of the parade to local residents.

“I think this is a sensible decision and one that I hope will allay any local apprehensions. The officers of the Cavehill Lodge have demonstrated maturity and civic responsibility” the party’s local representative Gemma Weir said.

Parades Commission                                                                                               “I met with the Parades Commission last week to discuss the proposed route and make them aware of concerns that had been brought to my attention”, she said

“The shortening of the parade and the willingness to engage with the local community are an excellent example of how to handle potentially difficult situations.

“The positive and sensitive actions of the Cavehill Temperance Lodge are in stark contrast to the the alarmist, provocative and extremely unhelpful stance taken by a number of local politicians and some sections of the media”, Gemma said.

“I now hope that we can all look forward to a peaceful and enjoyable  summer – especially in North Belfast”, Gemma concluded

 

U.S. immigration policy ‘a form of child abuse’

Weir Immigration

US immigration policy is child abuse

“The US Government is guilty of child abuse and an appalling demonstration of cruelty and inhumanity”, Gemma Weir of the Workers Party has said.

“In a six-week period more than 2,000 children have been forcibly removed from the arms of their parents and legal guardians and placed in wire mesh cages.

Read full statement:  US immigration policy and human rights

 

Refugee Week 2018

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Party member Lily Kerr (centre) at the launch of Refugee Week 2018

NICRAS – the Northern Ireland Community of Refugees & Asylum Seekers – launched its 2018 Refugee Week in the City Hall on Monday.

NICRAS supports the integration process of refugees and asylum seekers into local communities throughout Northern Ireland and raises awareness of the issues, problems and difficulties faced by refugees and asylum seekers in Northern Ireland.

There are thought to be around 200 applications for asylum each year and around the same number of refugees seeking to settle in Northern Ireland.

Asylum seekers come from countries  around the world that are experiencing war,
conflict and human rights abuses. In Northern Ireland, asylum applicants are most
commonly from China, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

The Workers Party was represented at the NICRAS Refugee Week launch by Lily Kerr.

Link to NICRAS website: http://www.nicras.btck.co.uk/

 

‘Women Can’t Wait’

Gemma Choice 1

Choice: Free, safe, legal and accessible

“The focus on the reform and decriminalistion of abortion services in Northern Ireland has been sharpened by the result of the recent referendum in the Republic”.  Workers Party representative Gemma Weir has claimed

“That momentum should now be translated into nothing short of locally available, safe, legal and accessible abortion services in Northern Ireland”, she said

The Workers Party is opposed to  direct rule and has consistently called for the restoration of the Assembly and the Executive.

“However, the refusal of Sinn Fein and the DUP to form an administration means that the only viable option available is for Westminster to legislate for abortion services for Northern Ireland. 

The reality is that women can’t wait.”, Gemma said

“The DUP and Sinn Fein continue to inflict a great disservice on local politics and the people of Northern Ireland.

“The human rights, health, well-being and choices of local women don’t even feature in their diversionary and on-going discussions.

“While local politicians choose to ignore it , Westminster must now acknowledge and respond to the suffering and plight of women in Northern Ireland who seek to have an abortion.

“The legislation must be comprehensive, unambiguous and immediate. It must legislate for free, safe, legal and accessible abortion services with pre and post information and support services” Gemma concluded

Significant and emphatic YES!

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Referendum result: a step towards becoming a truly secular republic, by removing the 8th from the constitution once and for all.”

The Workers Party in Northern Ireland has welcomed the outcome of the referendum in the Republic of Ireland and the resounding rejection of the 8th Amendment.

“This is a very significant and emphatic statement by the people of the Republic of Ireland”, Gemma Weir said.

“It is testament to the thousands of women and men who have never given up on this issue making sure that politicians have not been allowed to forget the thousands of women each year forced out of their own country to access basic healthcare.” said Gemma

Free, safe, legal and accessible                                                                               “It should now be translated into nothing short of free, safe, legal and accessible abortion services in the Republic and that momentum should be mirrored in Northern Ireland,” she added.

“Women have the right to control their own bodies, including their fertility, and to pursue all reproductive choices. This is a fundamental principle of gender equality”, Gemma said.

“Today’s referendum result signals a yet another major change in social attitudes in these islands.  That now needs to be reflected in Northern Ireland.

Quality care                                                                                                                  “We need to secure sufficient care, secular counselling and support for women who wish to continue to full term.

“For women who wish to terminate their pregnancy the Workers’ Party supports the provision of free, safe and accessible abortion in her own country which will include practical facilities to support women seeking an abortion and quality post-abortion care”, Gemma concluded

 Party statement on reproductive rights: Free, safe, legal and accessible

Workers Party Cllr. Eilis Ryan commenting on the outcome of the referendum

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDPR9QMW4BA&t=12s

There is a response to ‘Death riders’

Joanne L deathriders

This doesn’t happen on the Malone Road or Holywood Co. Down: we can’t ignore that.

Workers Party representative Joanne Lowry has condemned recent ‘death-riding’ incidents in the Lower Falls area.

Questioning the level of contribution which elected politicians have made to developing the area she has also called for a comprehensive regeneration plan to “turn this community around”

 

“The damage, misery and grief inflicted on the community by these types of incidents cannot and should not be underestimated”, Joanne said.

“Two recent events, in particular, – in Ross Road last week and in the early hours of Monday morning on the Grosvernor Road – have brought media and wider public attention to this problem , but it is an on-going and almost daily reality for many areas throughout West Belfast, with often serious and sometimes fatal consequences”, she said.

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The damage, misery and grief inflicted on the community by these types of incidents cannot and should not be underestimated

 

“It would be great to be able to say that there is an easy, quick and permanent solution to car theft, ‘death riding’ and all the destruction and misery that it brings. But there is not”.

“That doesn’t mean that we should do nothing and I know of some very positive work being undertaken by groups and individuals in this area to overcome these problems”.

 

 

Socially deprived areas                                                                                   Joanne pointed out that this level of destruction does not happen right across Belfast.

“Historically it occurs in socially deprived areas with high unemployment, where many young people have few if any qualifications, low aspirations and low self-esteem. Those factors are often further compounded by substance abuse”, she explained.

“Death riding and other anti-social activity is a direct result of living in some of the areas in West Belfast. This doesn’t happen on the Malone Road or Holywood Co. Down: we can’t ignore that. The roots of the problems are located in the social and economic conditions of these areas and some, but of course not all, young males, in particular, who feel they have no worth and no way out react as they do”, she said.

Outlining her approach to the problem she said,

“What we must tackle are the causes of their behaviour and our local elected representatives have questions to answer. What investment, opportunity and hope have they brought to west Belfast and to the Lower Fall area in particular?   Many will be queuing up to condemn these incidents – and rightly so – but what can they say that they have done to materially change conditions in these areas?  I think the answer is very little”.

No quick fixes                                                                                               “A united, focussed and long-term community response is required – and that needs to be funded, resourced and supported by all the statutory agencies: PSNI, education health and social care, housing and  the environment, working with the local community to turn areas like the Lower Falls around. There are no quick fixes and no amount of ‘punishment’ attacks will solve this problem: in fact they only make matters worse and bring further suffering to local families”, added Joanne

”I am now calling for on the Department for Communities to convene a series of meetings involving all the agencies and local communities throughout West Belfast with a view to producing a comprehensive community regeneration plan to bring jobs, social initiatives, investment and pride to this area, This is the best and only long-term way this community can respond”, she said

 

Twenty years since saying ‘Yes’

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The Agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referenda

Twenty years ago  on May 22 1998 the electorates in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were asked, in simultaneous referenda, to endorse or reject the Agreement reached between the parties participating in the talks chaired by Senator George Mitchell and the British and Irish governments, which had concluded  just six weeks earlier on Good Friday.

To mark that occasion, and to reflect on what that meant, how it developed and where we are today, the Workers Party has brought together a range of views, opinions and reflections.

‘Twenty Years since saying Yes’  is a  booklet which reflects on that period and assess progress or otherwise since  the electorates in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland cast their votes

This booklet looks at what that means twenty years on.

https://www.flipsnack.com/workersparty1/twenty-years-since-saying-yes.html

 

 

 

 

 

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